India and Pakistan will discuss among other things Islamabad’s objections on the 1000 MW Pakal-Dul and the 45 MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir during the ongoing 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC).
The Indian delegation reached Lahore on Tuesday for the meeting. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan mandates the PIC to meet at least once a year alternately in India and Pakistan. The last meeting was held in Delhi in March, 2018.
There is much speculation on the Lahore meeting as it is the first after the Imran Khan regime took over reins of Pakistan. The issue of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai was discussed during the meeting of the PIC in Delhi in March when Pakistan sought India’s designs on both the projects saying they deviated from the provisions of the Indus Waters Treat of 1960.
India insists there are no violations. The Pakal Dul dam on the Marusadar river, a tributary of the river Chenab, is under construction in Kishtwar district while the 45 MW Lower Kalnai dam is on another tributary of the river in Doda district.
During this meeting of PIC, Pakistan may request a site visit. As per the treaty, the ‘eastern rivers’ of Beas, Sutlej and Ravi are under India’s control, while Pakistan controls the ‘western rivers’ of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
On the table for discussions during the meeting is the finalisation of flood arrangements. The future programme of both the sides and tour inspections of PIC will also be finalised.
The PIC will also formalise and sign the annual report of the PIC for the year ending March 31, 2018. The nine-member Indian delegation is led by Indus Water Commissioner PK Saxena while the Pakistan talks are led by Syed Meher Ali Shah.