Pakistan to host India for next round of Indus Water Treaty talks

After detailed discussions on the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) during the two-day meeting between delegations of Pakistan and India in New Delhi, Islamabad will be hosting the Indian counterpart delegation for the second round of talks during next month.

Mehar Ali Shah, the Indus Water Commissioner from Pakistan, said the “dialogue with the neighbouring country on the water issues would continue in the future.”

“The Indian side has listened to the objections raised by Pakistan on different projects on its rivers and promised serious review of such projects,” he maintained, while speaking to media at the Wagah border upon his return from India.

The Pakistani delegation led by Shah was in New Delhi for the two-day talks. As per the Indian external affairs ministry, “talks were held in a cordial manner”, adding that both sides agreed to interact more frequently to resolve issues through bilateral discussions.”

Shah highlighted the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in New Delhi as a positive step forward as it had not happened since August 2018.

“It is a good sign that India invited the Pakistani side for a meeting even during the tough times of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Shah said.

As per details of the meeting, the Indian side shared flood data for the monsoon season, while Pakistan shared its concerns over the construction of various projects.

“India has expressed willingness for the visit and will give us the names and dates for the site visits. Pakistan will invite Indian officials for a meeting after April 1,” said Shah.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has maintained that both sides have agreed to make endeavours to resolve the issues, conduct tours of inspection and hold the next meeting of the commission in Pakistan at an early date.

“The 116th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in New Delhi from 23-24 March 2021. Under the relevant provisions of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the meeting is held annually alternatively in Pakistan and India,” maintains the Pakistan foreign office. “The Pakistan side reiterated its objections to the Indian projects, including Pakal Dul, Lower Kulnai, Durbuk Shyok and Nimu Chilling,” it added.