India and Pakistan have finally resolved the issues related to the Indus Water Treaty signed between the neighbours in 1960 and agreed to undertake mandated tours of each other’s hydropower projects, including the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai in Jammu and Kashmir.
The official agreement on the issues was signed after the conclusion of the two-day high-level bilateral talks on the Indus Water Treaty in Lahore. This was the first official agreement signed between India and Pakistan since Imran Khan took over the office.
“Deliberations were held on further strengthening the role of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) for matters under the 1960 Treaty,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.
During the bilateral talks, India and Pakistan discussed technicalities on the implementation of various hydroelectric projects under the provisions of Indus Waters Treaty including Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Both the countries agreed to undertake the Treaty mandated tours of both the Indus Commissioners in the Indus basin on both sides, the ministry said.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission in India on mutually convenient dates.
According to Pakistani media reports, India has invited experts from Pakistan to visit the sites of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects on the Chenab river next month to address Islamabad’s concerns over the construction of the projects.
Pakistan’s demands included reduction of the height of Pakal Dul’s reservoir up to five metres, maintenance of 40-metre height above sea level while making spillways’ gates of the Pakal Dul project, pattern and mechanism for the water storage and releases and some technical concerns over the design of the Lower Kalnai hydropower project. India, however, rejected Pakistan’s objections to the construction work.
“India has hinted at continuation of the work on both the hydropower projects,” PTI quoted an official as saying.
India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers.
(With inputs from PTI)