NEW DELHI: India may host a Pakistan delegation this month for a meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) that looks to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
Pakistan was a notable omission, along with Myanmar, in the Modi 3.0 inauguration guest list that included most other immediate neighbours but the World Bank-backed Indus talks remain ring-fenced from the turbulent nature of ties which have been bereft of any substantive diplomatic engagement in the past eight years.
The two countries are currently in touch to finalise the dates for the proposed visit in the third week of this month.Under the 1960 IWT, the two sides are required to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan. India refuses to engage Pakistan otherwise because of the latter’s support to cross-border terrorism.
If the visit happens, the delegation may also travel to J&K for talks related to IWT, which provides a framework for irrigation and hydropower development, allocating the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) to Pakistan and the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) to India.
As the World Bank says, the Treaty also allows each country certain uses of the rivers allocated to the other.
There was a renewed interest in IWT talks last year after India gave a notice to Pakistan for a modification of the Treaty because of the latter’s “intransigence and unilateral actions” on the issue of Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in J&K. India was upset that despite the World Bank asking both countries to find a mutually agreeable way, instead of seeking separate processes, to address Pakistan’s objections to the projects, Islamabad had unilaterally sought a parallel process to address the issue.

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