India, Pakistan officials to meet on March 23-24 to discuss Indus water sharing

After a gap of nearly two years, the top officials of India and Pakistan will hold a two-day meeting beginning March 23 to discuss the Indus water sharing between the two nations.According to reports, a high-level team from Pakistan will arrive in India via Atari-Wagah Border on Monday. The meeting, which is an annual affair between the two countries, is being held after two years. During their meeting, the officials of the two sides will discuss concerns over Indus water-sharing and related issues.India has recently given a go-ahead to several hydropower projects in Ladakh which is being opposed by Pakistan. Pakistan had earlier said that its delegation of water experts would visit India to attend the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission and discuss various water-related issues between March 23-24.The 116th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission will be held in New Delhi on March 23 and 24, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said earlier. Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Meher Ali Shah will lead the delegation while the Indian delegation will be led by India’s Indus Commissioner PK Saxena with his advisors from the Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.Under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, both the commissioners are required to meet at least once a year alternately in India and Pakistan.This will also be the first meeting between the two commissioners after the nullification of special provisions under Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The state was later carved into two union territories – Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.Indus Waters TreatyIndia and Pakistan signed a treaty for sharing river waters of the Indus drainage system in 1960. The agreement was mediated by the World Bank and named the Indus Waters Treaty.Under this treaty, Pakistan got a favourable division of waters of the six rivers of the Indus system. Pakistan was given rivers that had greater volumes of flowing water. India was allocated the waters of the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi the three less voluminous eastern tributaries of the Indus. More voluminous rivers, the Indus and its western tributaries, the Jhelum and Chenab went to Pakistan.

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