The 117th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) took place in Islamabad from 1-3 March, attended by the Indus commissioners of India and Pakistan.
The commissioners discussed issues related to infrastructure development, the sharing of data and the release of (un)treated wastewater.
The Indian side expressed satisfaction that its activities were compliant with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.
India is constructing the Pakal Dul Dam on the Marusdar River, a tributary of the Chenab River, the Kiru hydroelectric project across the Chenab River, and the lower Kalnai hydroelectric project, also on a tributary of the Chenab. All three projects are located in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the government of Pakistan had raised objections to various projects, resulting in these being placed on the agenda for the 117th meeting of the PIC. The government of Pakistan had approached the World Bank in January 2021 to submit its objections to the Pakul Project and had raised objections to the lower Kalnai project during the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission in March 2021. Subsequently, the Indus Commissioner for Pakistan had raised objections to the Kiru project in August 2021.
During this year’s PIC meeting these issues were reviewed, but India maintained that its project designs were fully compliant with the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty and indicated to Pakistan that it was open to any technical suggestions.
Differences of opinion also existed in regard to the Fazilka drain, which Pakistan had blocked to prevent untreated wastewater from some 18 urban areas in Punjab from flowing into its territory. However, this led to the accumulation of wastewater on the Indian side of the border and contaminated water in some 200 nearby villages. Pakistan has since acknowledged this issue and has promised to reopen the drain.