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Monday Mar 20, 2017

Indus Water talks in best interest of both countries: Khawaja Asif


ISLAMABAD: The 13th Indo-Pak Indus Water Commission conference commenced in Islamabad Monday.

Discussions on disputed projects including Miyar, Lower Kalnai, and Pakal Dul are on the agenda of the two-day meeting between Pakistani officials and the 10-member Indian delegation.

The Indian delegation is led by Indian Indus Water Commissioner P.K. Saxena. Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Baig is leading the Pakistani officials meeting their Indian counterparts.  

Addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Water and Power, Minister of Defence and Water and Power Khawaja Asif welcomed the Indian delegation. He said he would not make any speculations on the resolution of disputes.

"The talks, postponed since 2015, have resumed due to efforts made by the government," said Asif. "They are in the best interest of both neighbours."

"Deliberations on the Ratle hydro projects on Jhelum and Chenab rivers will begin in Washington next month," said the minister. "We are hopeful of a positive outcome from the resolution of the water dispute."

Indus Water Commission talks between the two countries were last held in May 2015 in New Delhi. 

A letter from Saxena proposed to discuss crucial disputes including the construction of Kishanganga and Ratle hydro projects on Jhelum and Chenab rivers by India.

Pakistan, however, has rejected the Indian Indus Water Commissioner's proposal, as the matter has already been taken to the World Bank for dispute resolution.

The 57-year old Indus Waters Treaty assigned River Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej to India and River Chenab, Jehlum, and Sindh to Pakistan.

As per the agreement, both countries are liable to hold deliberations each year in order to ensure compliance with the treaty and resolve any disputes.

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