India has accepted an invitation to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), to be held in Lahore in March 2017. The last round of the PIC was held in July 2016. This development came after two months of diplomatic negotiations, with World Bank officials playing mediator in encouraging Pakistan to extend the invitation and for India to accept.
- It signals a major shift in India’s position on talks with Pakistan on IWT as it had announced suspending talks after the Uri terror attacks in September 2016.
- This decision was taken by meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Water Resources Secretary and senior PMO officials.
- Decision taken in the meeting:Utilise water from Indus River under India’s share to fullest. It also suspended talks on the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), the dispute redressal mechanism until terrorism stops. It decided to build more run-of-the-river hydropower projects on western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) to exploit full potential.
- In November 2016, India also rejected World Bank’s decision to constitute a Court of Arbitration to look into complaints from Pakistan over India’s construction of Kishenganga and Ratle river water projects. India had clearly mentioned that WB’s decision was biased in Pakistan’s favour.