Updated: March 15, 2021 6:56:20 am
THE INDUS Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan are set to meet on March 23-24 in New Delhi, a top official said on Sunday.
Pradeep Kumar Saxena, Commissioner (Indus), who will lead the Indian delegation in the meeting, told The Indian Express, “The annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) will be held on March 23-24 in New Delhi.”
“We are committed towards full utilisation of India’s rights under the treaty and believe in amicable solution of issues through discussion,” Saxena said.
This will be the first meeting of Indus Commissioners after a gap of two and a half years. The last meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in Lahore, Pakistan from August 29-30, 2018.
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Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, the Commission shall meet “regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan”. This regular annual meeting shall be held in November or in such other months as may be agreed upon between the Commissioners, states one of the provisions of the treaty.
The Commission was scheduled to meet in March last year but it had to cancel the meeting in view of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Later, India proposed to hold the meeting virtually but the Pakistan side insisted on holding the talks at the Attari check post. However, the Indian side conveyed to them that it was not conducive to hold the meeting at the Attari Joint Check Post in view of the pandemic.
With the improvement in the coronavirus situation now, this meeting is being held with all Covid-related protocols, Saxena said. The Pakistan delegation will be led by Syed Muhammad Meher Ali Shah, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters.
During the meeting, Pakistan’s objections on design of Indian hydropower projects on Chenab River will be discussed, Saxena said.
According to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, all the waters of the Eastern Rivers (Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi) amounting to around 33 million acre feet (MAF) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use and the waters of Western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab) amounting to around 135 MAF annually largely to Pakistan.
Under the treaty, India has been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through a run of the river projects on the western rivers subject to specific criteria for design and operation. It also gives the right to Pakistan to raise concerns on the design of Indian hydroelectric projects on western rivers.
The meeting of the Indus Commission will be the first after the abrogation of the special provisions under Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
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