India accepts Pak invite for Indus dialogue

Indus Waters Treaty has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan

With India all set to attend the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission in Lahore, defence experts today said New Delhi will utilize the entire legitimate part of the rivers falling under the treaty and added that Pakistan, which has been acting as a crying wolf, should discuss the issue bilaterally.

"However, the agenda for the meeting is yet to be finalised". Even though officials from both countries are claiming the meeting to only be a "technical" development with India insisting that the commissioner's work can not "amount to talks" between governments, a new breakthrough in an otherwise suspended conversation would, hopefully, soon translate into a resumption of the dialogue process.

The meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission will be held before March 31 "as it is mandated" under the treaty, government sources said today.

Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or changes to the IWT after India had said that it is ready to engage in further consultations with Islamabad on the matter of resolving current differences over the Kishenganga and Ralte projects under the treaty.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is raising objection to the building of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants by India saying they violate the treaty's provisions.

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After the Uri attack, tensions heightened between the two countries. Mr. Modi repeated some of those angry sentiments at public rallies where he said India would not allow even a "drop of water" to go waste into Pakistan.

According to Islamabad, India was buying time to complete its two disputed water projects and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified. The accord controls water distribution of rivers Ravi, Sutlej, Beas, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The Indus water treaty is one of the old and fruitful global conflict resolution agreements.

Both countries signed IWT in 1960 mediated by the World Bank in order to settle the issue. The function of the commission is to maintain and exchange data and co-operation between the two countries.

Water from the eastern rivers has been allocated to India, and New Delhi is obligated to let 80 percent water from the western rivers flow to Pakistan.

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