Indus Waters Treaty: India set to attend Permanent Indus Commission meeting in Lahore in March

Sriparna Ghosh
Indus river

In response to an invitation forwarded by Pakistan for talks over the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), India is all set to participate in the meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PUC) scheduled to be held in Lahore later in March.

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The PUC is a bilateral commission consisting of officials from India and Pakistan and was created to implement and manage the goals and objectives and outlines of the IWT. The function of the commission is to maintain and exchange data and co-operation between the two countries.

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This development has come in the backdrop of the Pathankot terror attack that took place in early January 2016 as a result of which the relations between the two nuclear-armed nations underwent a rapid deterioration.

When India had said that it is ready to engage in further consultations with Islamabad in order to resolve current differences over the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ralte (850 megawatts) hydroelectric projects that come under the treaty, Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or modifications in the IWT.

According to Islamabad, India was buying time to complete its two disputed water projects and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified.

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Meanwhile, Pakistan is raising objection to the building of the Kishanganga and Ratle plants by India saying they violate the treaty's provisions.

Ever since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan in the wake of the growing tension between the two countries over border violations and skirmishes, matters have worsened for Islamabad.

Earlier, the World Bank had asked both countries to chalk out other possible ways to end the dispute.

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To resolve issues regarding the two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus Rivers system, the World Bank had earlier halted the appointment of a neutral expert and the chairman of the Court of Arbitration, on the requests of both India and Pakistan.

The Indus treaty of 1960, which is considered as one of the most successful international water-sharing agreements, had been signed by the then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani president Ayub Khan. According to the treaty, India can control the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin—Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan can control the three western rivers—Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

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