Pak-India talks on Ratle Project next month in Washington: Asif

As the planet warms, politics of water looms increasingly large over South Asia

Indus Waters Treaty: India-Pakistan expected to discuss five hydro projects at Permanent Indus Commission meet starting March 20

Ahead of the visit, a government official said India is always open to discuss and resolve concerns Pakistan have over its projects under Indus Water Treaty bilaterally.

India and Pakistan began water talks in the capital Islamabad Monday to discuss New Delhi's three controversial projects over Chenab River in efforts to deescalate tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Leaders of eighteen farmer associations from across the country on Sunday said that Indus Water Treaty must be protected as Pakistan has a right on the waters of three rivers, reported Daily Dunya.

Pakistan on Sunday said it believed that continuation of purposeful talks with honest efforts from both sides would lead to resolution of the matters at the Permanent Indus Commission level in accordance with the provisions of the IWT which was a symbol of peaceful management of trans-boundary resources.

After the first day of talks, officials on both sides said the meeting was held in a cordial manner, and they had frank discussions.

The 113th Indo-Pak Indus Water Commission conference will begin in Islamabad on Monday.

The talks were suspended in May 2015 after the Pakistani Commissioner objected to the designs of the Kishenganga and the Ratle hydropower projects of India.

The minister said that flood data supplied by India and tour programs of inspection, as well as meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of interest in the Indus Basin, are also on the agenda of the talks. "We welcome this decision of India, which has dispatched the commission to Pakistan for holding two-day parleys".

Pakistan last September requested World Bank mediate in the matter but the organization later backed out, forcing Pakistan and India to resume direct negotiations. The World Bank had brokered the agreement and have a role in dispute resolution.

Though India had offered to continue discussing the matters at the commission level, Pakistan could not afford delay in the resolution process as construction of the two projects was in progress. Asif expressed hope that things will move in the positive direction as a result of the meeting between Permanent Indus Commissioners of Pakistan and India. But these talks are mandatory under IWT, and if India fails to hold the talks till March 31, it shall be violating the treaty.

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