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Indus Water Commission talks to start in Islamabad today

Indus Water Commission talks to start in Islamabad today”

"As climate change would influence the flow of the rivers, so it can not be excluded from the treaty framework", said a senior official of Pakistan's Indus Waters Commission. Under the Indus Water Treaty, India has exclusive rights to three Indus basin rivers, including the Ravi, which has virtually disappeared on the Pakistani side.

After a bilateral meeting between the Secretary Water and Power with the Indian Secretary for Water Resources, held in New Delhi in July 2016, both the disputed matters were referred for a third party resolution through the World Bank (WB).

The two-day meeting between the countries is taking place after a gap of two years.

Established in 1960, the Permanent Indus Waters Commission will have its 113th session today.

Indus Water Commissioner of Pakistan Mirza Asif Baig will head Pakistani side in the talks, the agenda of which includes discussions on the design aspects of Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48MW) hydroelectric plants, flood data supply by India and program of tours of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus basin.

Pakistan had also approached the World Bank in August past year raising issues over Kishanganga and Ratle projects in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

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The two countries have been locked in military skirmishes across the Kashmir border in recent months, raising fears of another war between India and Pakistan.

They said that the government of Pakistan must immediately give up on talks with India on this subject. Pakistan has been pursuing the matter of regular meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission with India to bring the other remaining issues under discussion. "If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre-feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan". Pakistan had already taken up both the issues at the World Bank level, he said.

Pakistan contends that the projects were violating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, which has come under strain during the current tension between the two sides.

Another meeting planned in September 2016 was cancelled due to tension following the Uri terror attack by Pakistan- based outfits. However, he also admitted that India would not compromise in exploiting its rights under the 57-year-old pact.

He further added that delays had been witnessed in the past in the handling of the Kishanganga project.

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