New Delhi: India and Pakistan concluded two days of talks on the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty here on Tuesday, with the meeting held in a cordial atmosphere, and with appreciation of the “commitment of the two sides to interact frequently and resolve issues through dialogue”.
The talks also came amid rising water scarcity in both countries.
An official statement said that the 118th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) comprising of Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan was held on May 30-31 in New Delhi.
The Indian delegation was led by A.K. Pal, the Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters, and the visiting Pakistan delegation was led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, the Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters.
During the meeting, annual report of the PIC for the year ending on 31 March 2022 was finalised and signed.
“The meeting was held in a cordial manner. The Commission appreciated the commitment of the two sides to interact frequently and resolve issues through bilateral discussions under the Indus Water Treaty. It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the PIC in Pakistan on mutually convenient dates,” it said.
The Indus system comprises of the main Indus River, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of three rivers, — Ravi,Sutlej and Beas ( Eastern Rivers) averaging around 33 million acre feet ( MAF) were allocated to India for exclusive use.
The waters of the Western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab averaging to around 135 MAF were allocated to Pakistan, except for specified domestic , non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India as provided in the Treaty.
India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run of the river (RoR) projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.
As per the treaty, both the nations need to have Indus Commissioners. They also have to meet at least once a year. The meeting can be organised, alternatively in India and Pakistan.
A five member Pakistani delegation had arrived in India via the Attari Wagah border on Sunday to hold talks under the Indus Water Commission.
The Pakistani commissioner was reported as saying that they will hold talks with India on “sharing flood data besides also raising objections on three water reservoir projects on the River Chenab.”
This was the second Pakistani delegation to visit India in the last few weeks. Earlier this month a Pakistani delegation visited Delhi for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) regional anti-terror structure (RATS) meet.