Islamabad/New Delhi: A five-member Pakistani delegation crossed over to India via the Attari-Wagah border on Sunday to hold talks under the Indus Water Commission.
The delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner Syed Maher Ali Shah, also comprised of the director-general met office, and representatives from the irrigation department, the foreign office and NESPAK (National Engineering Services Pakistan).
“We will hold talks over water issues for two days from tomorrow in New Delhi,” Shah said. The last such meeting was held in Islamabad.
The commissioner said that they will hold talks with India on sharing flood data besides also raising objections on three water reservoir projects on the River Chenab.
“India has assured that it will submit a report on the construction of the reservoirs to address Pakistan’s concerns,” media reports quoted him as saying.
Syed Maher Ali Shah said their visit was aimed at attending the May 30-31 talks, and that further review of the Indian hydropower projects will be planned later.
The 116th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi on March 23-24, 2021, while the 117th Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) comprising of Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan was held from March 1-3, 2022 in Islamabad.
The Pakistan Foreign Office in a statement said that under the relevant provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), the meeting is held annually alternately in Pakistan and India.
The Pakistan side has highlighted its objections to Indian water projects including Pakal Dul, Lower Kulnai, Durbuk Shyok and Nimu Chilling, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“There will be talks on the sharing of flood forecast data while the PCIW (Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Water) annual report will also be discussed during the negotiations,” Shah said.
Shah said the Pakistani delegation will not visit the under construction Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai dams in Jammu and Kashmir but these would be discussed along with other projects.
The Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) is proposed on the Marusudar river, a tributary of the Chenab river, in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir. The Lower Kalnai project is proposed in Kishtwar and Doda districts.
This is the second Pakistani delegation to visit India in the last few weeks. Earlier this month a Pakistani delegation visited Delhi for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) regional anti-terror structure (RATS) meet.