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Indus Water Treaty is in interest of New Delhi, Islamabad: Pak Minister

Water under the bridge

Ahead of the visit, a government official said India is always open to discuss and resolve concerns Pakistan have over its projects under Indus Water Treaty bilaterally.

Discussions on disputed projects such as Miyar, Lower Kalnai, and Pakal Dul will be discussed in the two-day meeting between Pakistani officials and the 10-member Indian delegation, which would be led by Indian Indus Water Commissioner PK Saxena.

Pakistan minister for water and power Khawaja Mohammed Asif reiterated on Monday that the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was an worldwide agreement which provided an amicable solution to serious water issues between Pakistan and India.

Some sections of the Indian media suggested that the idea of abandoning the Indus Water Treaty was to deprive Pakistan of the water from the Indus basin and put pressure on it. He said outstanding problems relating to the Indus Basin would be discussed during the two-day meeting in Lahore.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has urged Pakistan and India to respect the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) as both the countries resume stalled talks on troubled waters today (Monday) in the capital under the 1960 treaty which will continue over the next two days. To a question, he said Pakistan was pressing for the implementation of arbitration court's decision on Kishanganga.

Moreover, Pakistan will put forward a proposal of deploying a monitoring mechanism to assess the adverse affects of climate change on the water flows of Indus rivers system during the meeting.

Though India had offered to continue discussing the matters, Pakistan could not afford delays in the resolution process as construction of the two plants was continuing. The bilateral treaty assigns the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers to India, and the Chenab, Jehlum, and Sindh rivers to Pakistan. Pakistan has been pursuing the matter of regular meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission with India to bring the other remaining issues under discussion. Asif expressed hope that things will move in the positive direction as a result of the meeting between Permanent Indus Commissioners of Pakistan and India. The World Bank had brokered the agreement and have a role in dispute resolution. But these talks are mandatory under IWT, and if India fails to hold the talks till March 31, it shall be violating the treaty.