- India agrees to redesign 120mw Miyar hydropower project; Asif Saeed says talks held in positive, professional atmosphere; Islamabad, New Delhi to increase interaction, meetings, tours
Pakistan and India have agreed to resolve differences of troubled waters under river pact as Indian side has agreed to re-consider Pakistan’s observations on its hydropower projects and in this regard it will respond in the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission.
The agreement reached at the two-day meeting of the Indus Water Commissioners of Pakistan and India on water issues in Islamabad on Tuesday. During the 113th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission, the Pakistani delegation was headed by Mirza Asif Saeed while PK Saxena-led the Indian delegation during the two-day talks at the water commissioner level.
During the course of meeting, discussions were held on India’s proposed 120 megawatts Miyar, 48 megawatts Lower Kalnai and 1,000 megawatts Pakal Dul hydropower projects as well as on matters pertaining to the exchange of data and conducting tours and meetings of the Indus Commission.
“On Miyar hydropower project, India has withdrawn its design after Pakistan had made objections on it in the previous meetings of the commission. On the other two projects discussions were held on Pakistan’s prior objections relating to pondage and free board of Lower Kalnai and free board and spillway of the Pakal Dul hydropower projects,” according to the Ministry of the Water and Power.
The Indian side has agreed to re-consider Pakistan’s observations on these projects and will respond in the next meeting of the Commission, said water & power ministry. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the power ministry said that the Indian side also agreed to tour of inspection for Pakistan’s Indus Commission which is expected to be arranged before August 2017.
Pakistan’s side demanded from India to provide the outflows from Baglihar and Salal dams (on River Chenab) during the flood season to the issue flood early warnings. The Indian side has agreed to consider Pakistan’s request and it was expected that India would start providing the required data starting from the coming flood season.
Talking to journalists after the conclusion of the talks, Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Asif Saeed said that the talks were held in a positive and professional atmosphere. It was also agreed to increase the number of interaction, meetings and tours. Pakistan has informed the Indian side about its objections on the design, pondage and higher filling level of storage, he said.
On Monday, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif said that the two nations would hold three-day secretary-level talks on the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects, under the aegis of the World Bank, in Washington from April 11. He also welcomed the Indian decision to resume negotiations under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty on the proposed Pakul Dal, Miyar and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects, disputed by Pakistan.
“The US has intervened at the highest level to help both countries resolve the issue. There will be secretary-level talks on the Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower projects in Washington on April 11, 12 and 13,” Asif said. It is pertinent to mention here that last September, Pakistan approached the World Bank when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to revoke the 56-year-old treaty following the Uri attack.
Under the treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishment of the Court of Arbitration. However, India decided to return to the negotiating table with Pakistan over its disputed hydropower projects in April, following the intervention of the US and the World Bank. –AHMAD AHMADANI/AMER SIAL