india refutes pak's spin on just-concluded indus waters talks
Sunday, September 02, 2018
Indus Water Treaty Kashmir
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In May, PM Modi inaugurated the 330MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Kashmir
India and Pakistan agreed to undertake mandated tours of each other's hydropower projects on the Indus. However, the Pakistani press reported the agreement as referring to the inspection of only India's projects. In fact, Pakistani sources told PTI India rejected Pakistan's objections on its hydro-power projects on the Chenab
NEW DELHI: The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Friday that India and Pakistan agreed to undertake mandated tours of each other's hydro-power projects on the Indus, even as the Pakistani press reported the agreement as referring to the inspection of only India's projects.
The MEA's statement comes a day after the conclusion of the two-day talks held between Pakistani and Indian commissioners for Indus waters and projects on the Indus basin. Both countries are signatories of the Indus Waters Treaty.
"Technical discussions were held on implementation of various hydroelectric projects including Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) in Jammu & Kashmir. Both the countries agreed to undertake the Treaty mandated tours of both the Indus Commissioners in Indus basin on both sides," said the MEA.
However, Pakistan's water resources officials, per the Pakistani press, appear to have focused only his own country's inspection of Indian projects which he referred to as "a major breakthrough".
"The major breakthrough of the two-day talks held in Lahore is that India has agreed to get the projects' sites visited by our experts. Therefore, our team comprising experts will visit the sites in India by the end of next month," said Pakistan's water resource secretary Shamail Ahmad Khawaja to Dawn.
And while India said no such thing, Pakistan's commissioner for Indus waters appeared to think Islamabad has "succeeded in convincing India to address our issues."
In fact, Pakistani sources told India's news agency PTI that India rejected Pakistan's objections on its two hydro-power projects on the Chenab river, the 1,000MW Pakal Dul dam and 48MW Lower Kalnal hydro-power projects
"India has hinted at continuation of work on both the hydro-power projects," he said. "Pakistan may approach the international forums defined in the Indus Waters Treaty over New Delhi's refusal to accept the requests as narrated in the detailed objections," the Pakistani official told PTI.
In fact, Pakistani sources told India's news agency PTI on Thursday that India rejected Pakistan's objections on its two hydro-power projects on the Chenab river,the 1,000MW Pakal Dul dam and 48MW Lower Kalnal hydro-power projects.
"India has hinted at continuation of work on both the hydropower projects," he said. "Pakistan may approach the international forums defined in the Indus Waters Treaty over New Delhi's refusal to accept the requests as narrated in the detailed objections," the Pakistani official told PTI.
Pakistan's official spin to its media was different.
"During the visit, our experts will minutely examine the sites, construction in the light of the provisions of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and the objections raised by Pakistan to the aforementioned projects being executed by India over the Chenab River," aid Pakistan's water secretary.
However, the Pakistani side had no choice but to say that both countries mutually decided they would separately prepare technical memorandums based on their points of view and possible solutions on the difference on the 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal.
The 115th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission was held in Lahore, Pakistan from August 29-30, 2018. The Indian delegation was led by PK Saxena, the Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters.
The talks were the first official engagement between India and Pakistan since Khan became prime minister on August 18.
The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi in March during which both the sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
In May, the World Bank said it could not reach an agreement with Pakistan to address its concerns regarding the Indus Waters Treaty with India after two-days of talks in Washington. This was days after India inaugurated the Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir.
A high-powered Pakistani delegation led by its attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali met with World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva and other senior officials at the time.
During the meetings, held at Pakistan's request to discuss issues regarding the Indus Waters Treaty and opportunities within the treaty to seek an amicable resolution, "several procedural options" for resolving the disagreement over the interpretation of the treaty's provisions were discussed, the Bank said.
"While an agreement on the way forward was not reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the treaty provisions," the Bank said in a statement at the end of the talks.
"The delegation of the Government of Pakistan also shared with the Bank their concerns about the recent inauguration of the Kishanganga hydroelectric plant," the statement said.
In May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan had protested the inauguration claiming that the project on a river flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.