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Indus Waters Treaty: India and Pakistan begin high-level talks

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Washington: The two-day high-level talks on technical issues of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) began between India and Pakistan in Washington, United States on 14th and 15th September 2017.

The talks are a continuation of a discussion on how to safeguard the treaty for the benefit of the people in both the countries.

The World Bank had said in August 2017 that under the water treaty, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions.

Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India, it had said in a fact sheet issued at the conclusion of secretary-level talks between the two countries over the IWT.

The IWT was signed in 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan, after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.

According to the agreement, control over the three ‘eastern’ rivers- Beas, Ravi and Sutlej- was given to India, while control over the three ‘western’ rivers- Indus, Chenab and Jhelum- to Pakistan.

It raised a fear in Pakistan that since the source of the rivers is in India and the treaty allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, it could potentially lead to droughts and famines in Pakistan.

However, the provisions of the treaty only allow India to use 20 percent of the total water carried by the Indus river.

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