India and Pakistan on Thursday held a meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission and discussed several issues under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), sources said.
The 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) will continue tomorrow when Pakistan's objections over the designs of some of India's hydropower projects along with other issues related to the IWT are likely to come up for discussion. India has been maintaining that the designs of the projects are “very much” in line with the IWT, which was signed in 1960 by the two countries. India's Indus water commissioner P K Saxena, technical experts and a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) took part in meeting as part of the Indian delegation.
Pakistan's six-member delegation was led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, during the Commission's meeting, which is taking 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 the two sides in the development of the Indus water systems.
“The two sides discussed routine and administrative issues and shared information like flood data among other. The issues relating to the projects may come up for discussion tomorrow,” a source said. Pakistan, the sources said, 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 that they violate the IWT.
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.