India, Pakistan to hold negotiations on Indus water treaty today

imgAlthough India and Pakistan have been accusing each other of harassing their diplomats, the South Asian neighbours will hold talks over the sharing of river waters in New Delhi starting Thursday, two people familiar with the development said.

This will be the 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) that looks into the sharing of the waters of the Indus since the treaty—brokered by the World Bank—was signed by the two countries in 1960.

The Indus water treaty covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers—Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. It specifies that waters from the three western rivers—Indus, Jhelum and Chenab—are reserved for Pakistan, while waters from eastern rivers—Ravi, Sutlej and Beas—are for India to tap.

As per the agreement, the commissioners have to meet once a year, one of the people familiar with the development cited above said.

India’s Indus water commissioner P.K. Saxena, technical experts and a representative of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) will be part of the Indian delegation for the annual meeting, the person cited above said.

Pakistan’s six-member delegation will be led by Syed Muhammad Mehr Ali Shah, joint secretary (water) in the ministry of water and power of the Pakistan government.

The meeting will be held on 29 and 30 March, a second person familiar with the developments said.

Issues relating to India’s Ratle, Pakul Dul and Lower Kalnai projects, located in Jammu and Kashmir, are expected to be discussed.