A three-member Pakistani delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner Syed Mehr Ali Shah on Sunday reached India to visit the Jammu and Kashmir's Chenab river basin, as mandated under the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. Apart from Shah, the team includes his two advisers Joint Commissioner Usman Ghani and National Engineering Services Pakistan’s (Nespak) Mehmood Hayat. The delegation, however, said Islamabad had no objection over the construction of the dams but raised harbour concerns over their design.
"Pakistani delegation arrives in Delhi for Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan," the news agency ANI reported.
Pakistani delegation arrives in Delhi for Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan pic.twitter.com/5cHGWvN9S3— ANI (@ANI) January 27, 2019
Briefing the media about the 6-day-long visit, a senior officer said, "This tour is an obligation imposed on both the countries by the Indus Waters Treaty 1960. Under the treaty, both the commissioners are mandated to inspect sites and works on both the sides of Indus basin in a block of five years".
Under the Indus Water Treaty, waters flowing in three Indus tributaries - the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi - have been allotted to India, while the Chenab, the Jhelum and the Indus waters have been allotted to Pakistan. However, India has rights to develop hydroelectric power on the Western rivers within the specified parameters of the design.
Since the signing of the treaty, a total of 118 such tours on both the sides have been undertaken. The last tours of the commission in Pakistan and India were held in July 2013 and September 2014, respectively. The ongoing five-years block will end in March 2020.
This tour will be followed by a visit of India's Indus Commissioner to Pakistan at a mutually convenient date. It was originally scheduled in October 2018 but was postponed because of local bodies and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir. During this tour, the Pak delegation will inspect the Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dul projects being constructed over the Chenab River.
Pakistan has been long dissenting the storage of water in the dam and the provision of data in regards to its operation. A statement issued by the Foregin Office also alleged that despite several rounds of bilateral negotiations as well as mediation under the auspices of the World Bank, India continued with the construction of the project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the projects in May.
(With inputs from agencies)