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Pakistani Delegation Arrives in Jammu to Discuss Indus Water Treaty

Jammu, June 23: A Pakistani delegation arrived in Jammu on Sunday evening to engage in discussions related to the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The delegation’s visit marks an important step in the ongoing dialogue between India and Pakistan over water-sharing issues under the treaty’s framework.

The delegation is scheduled to visit various dam sites in the upcoming days. This visit is part of the regular interactions stipulated by the Indus Water Treaty, which was signed by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the former President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, in 1960.

The Indus Waters Treaty establishes a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between India and Pakistan regarding their use of the rivers. This mechanism includes the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which comprises commissioners from both countries. The treaty also outlines processes for resolving any “questions”, “differences”, or “disputes” that may arise between the parties.

The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan. It was created to implement and manage the objectives of the Indus Waters Treaty, which was brokered by the World Bank. The commission is tasked with addressing technical matters related to the treaty’s implementation.

Over the years, India and Pakistan have been embroiled in a longstanding water dispute, particularly concerning two hydroelectric projects. Pakistan has raised objections to India’s construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants, claiming these projects violate the treaty’s provisions. India, however, maintains that the designs of these projects fully comply with the treaty’s guidelines.

In an effort to resolve the disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty, the World Bank has urged both countries to explore alternative ways to settle their disputes. In 2015, Pakistan requested the appointment of a Neutral Expert to examine its technical objections to India’s hydroelectric projects. However, in 2016, Pakistan retracted this request and instead proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate its objections.

Despite India’s efforts to find a mutually agreeable solution, Pakistan has refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission held from 2017 to 2022. This refusal has further complicated the dispute resolution process under the treaty.

The arrival of the Pakistani delegation in Jammu signals a renewed opportunity for dialogue and cooperation between the two countries. As they visit various dam sites and engage in discussions, it is hoped that both sides can find common ground and work towards a resolution that upholds the spirit of the Indus Water Treaty, ensuring equitable water-sharing and sustained cooperation.

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