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Featured Thaw in Pakistan, India ties as ‘Indus water officials to meet next week’


May 1, 2015
Meeting between Indus commissioners of both countries to meet in New Delhi on March 23 and 24

Following the successful backdoor diplomacy, the Indus Water Commissioners of Pakistan and India agreed to meet on March 23 and 24 in New Delhi after a two-year hiatus, diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune on Monday.
Indus Water Commissioner Syed Muhammad Mehr Ali Shah and Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri will represent Pakistan, they added.
It will be the 116th meeting of the Pakistan-India Indus Water Commissioners. The last meeting was held in Lahore two years ago.
The meeting could not be held for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, tensions between the two neighbouring countries and other factors.

According to The Hindu, the Indian delegation will be led by PK Saxena, India’s Indus Commissioner, with his advisers.
This will also be the first meeting between the two commissioners after the BJP-led Modi government had in August 2019 revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution that gave Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) territory a special status.
The historic Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) 1960 was signed by both countries but India has been violating the treaty in the cases of Kishanganga, Ratle Hydro Electric Power Projects and other projects. Pakistan has raised the issue with the World Bank and at other global forums.
The development comes weeks after Pakistan and India announced that they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors.
The announcement was made simultaneously by both Islamabad and New Delhi after a telephonic conversation between senior military officials of the two countries.
The rare joint statement came against the backdrop of worsening relations between the two countries since the Pulwama incident in February 2019.
The thaw is seen as a major development after years of tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours and being attributed to quiet diplomacy between Islamabad and New Delhi.

Observers believe that the Indian government’s willingness to agree to a ceasefire may be linked to its tense standoff with China for months.
Although India and China recently disengaged from Pangong Lake in the Ladakh region, tensions still persist between the two countries.
It is believed that India by seeking a reduction in the tension along the LoC wants to concentrate on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

Pakistan to raise issue of delaying flood data with India at Indus Water Commission

Pakistan's Indus Water Commission (PCIW) will raise the issue of delaying flood data by India during the annual meeting of the commission on March 23-24.

The meeting is taking place after a hiatus of nearly three years, with the last being held in Lahore in August 2018.

Last year's meeting, which was earlier scheduled to be held in New Delhi in March 2020, was cancelled in view of the pandemic situation.

As per the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, both the commissioners are required to meet at least once a year alternately in India and Pakistan.

Speaking to Geo News on Tuesday, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehr Ali said the Pakistani delegation will leave for New Delhi on March 22 where the meeting would take place.

What will be discussed in the meeting?
Shah will lead the Pakistani delegation whereas the Indian side will be headed by PK Saxena.

“Controversial projects of 1000 MW Pakkal Dal and 48 MW Lower Kalnai will be discussed during the two-day meeting. Pakistan has already raised objections on the design of these projects,” he said.

The top official of the Indus Water Commission said two more water projects -Darbuk and Nemochaling – will also come under discussion, adding that the issue of delaying flood data will also be raised with New Delhi.

“India has been violating the Indus Basin Agreement in providing flood data for 2 years. Pakistan wants daily flood data from July 1 to October 10,” Mehar noted.

The Pakistani delegation will include representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, WAPDA, Meteorology, Attorney General's Office, and Irrigation Department.


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