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India, Pakistan to hold talks on Indus Waters Treaty in Lahore

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-03-2017 PTI

New Delhi: India and Pakistan will hold talks on various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in Lahore on 20 and 21 March.

The meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) will take place nearly six months after New Delhi decided to suspend talks on the pact in view of the Uri terror attack by Pakistan-based outfits. The meeting is being held “as the IWT, 1960 makes it mandatory” to hold parleys under the pact at least once in a fiscal.

India’s Indus water commissioner and MEA officials will be part of the Indian delegation for the annual meeting. The last meeting of the PIC was held in May 2015 in New Delhi.

India had on Friday downplayed its participation in an upcoming meeting in Pakistan to discuss sharing of Indus river water, saying it does not amount to resumption of government-level India-Pakistan talks. The dialogue was stalled following the terror strikes by Pakistan-based terror groups.

Declaring that “blood and water cannot flow together”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a meeting in September to review the treaty in the backdrop of the terror strikes, including the Uri attack. After the meeting, officials had announced that the government has decided to suspend further talks and increase the utilisation of rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir to fully exercise India’s rights under the pact.

The commission, which has officials from both the countries as its members, was set up under the treaty to discuss and resolve issues relating to its implementation. It is mandated to meet alternately in India and Pakistan.

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