India for virtual Indus talks, Pak insists on Wagah meet

India for virtual Indus talks, Pak insists on Wagah meet

India has suggested to Pakistan the talks for discussing pending issues under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) be held through video-conferencing in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. File photo

New Delhi, August 9

Water-sharing treaty

  • Under Indus Water Treaty, Indus commissioners of both sides meet once a year, alternately

  • Waters of three eastern rivers — Ravi, Beas & Sutlej — have been allocated to India

  • Western rivers — Indus, Chenab & Jhelum — are for Pak with some rights to India

India has suggested to Pakistan the talks for discussing pending issues under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) be held through video-conferencing in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Islamabad has been insisting the parleys be conducted at the Attari joint checkpost, sources said today.

In a letter last week, the Indus Commissioner of India told his Pakistan counterpart it was not conducive to hold the meeting at Attari due to the pandemic.

On Pakistan’s request, a meeting was scheduled in the last week of March to discuss pending issues under the treaty. However, it was deferred due to the pandemic.

Considering the fact that it may take some time for the situation to normalise, the Indian Commissioner, in the first week of July, suggested the meeting be held through video-conference or any alternative means, sources said. The Pakistan Commissioner, in his July-end reply, insisted on holding the meeting at the Attari check post instead.

“The Indian Commissioner responded by saying the situation in India is still not conducive to travel or holding meeting at Attari, as proposed by his counterpart, and that it may take some time to allow such a meeting at Attari or New Delhi, as desired by Pakistan,” a source said.

The Indian Commissioner requested the Pakistan side to consider holding a virtual meeting as a viable option to discuss the pending and new issues, sources added.

One of the pending issues is the disagreement over the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectricity projects. The Kishenganga project had been in operation since 2018, while work on Ratle stands abandoned since 2014. — PTI

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