The two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) began here today with India and Pakistan expected to discuss various issues under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) during the parleys.
The Indian delegation for the annual meeting comprises India’s Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena, a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and technical experts, sources said.
Pakistan’s six-member delegation for the commission’s 114th meeting is being led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.
The meeting will take place in the backdrop of the continuing tension between the two countries over a host of issues, including the alleged harassment of diplomats.
The PIC is an established mechanism under the IWT, which mandates it to establish and maintain cooperative arrangements for the implementation of the water distribution pact and to promote cooperation between India and Pakistan in the development of the Indus water systems.
Commissioners are representatives of their respective governments for all matters arising out of this treaty.
Pakistan has been expressing concerns over India’s Ratle (850 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) projects — located in the Chenab basin – contending they violated the IWT, signed in 1960, sources said.
India, however, has been maintaining that designs of these projects are very much in accordance with the treaty.
The IWT covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
The treaty 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 reserved for India.
The PIC had last met in March 2017 in Islamabad. The meeting of the PIC is held alternately in India and Pakistan at least once every year as mandated by the treaty.