India is sticking to the letter of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and has refused to change its designs of the Miyar dam, as asked by Pakistan. MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay told journalists, “there has been no change in the previous Indian position on any of the matters discussed at the Commission meeting.”
India defended its presence at the Lahore meeting of the Indus Commissioners last week, saying “So long as we are a party to the Treaty, it is our legal obligation to attend the Treaty-mandated meetings which is held at least once every financial year.”
The commission, he said is a bilateral body of engineers and technical experts, who had detailed technical discussions.
Pakistan has asked India to changed the design of the Miyar dam, and Pakistan minister for water said India had agreed to do so. India refuted that report, denying any such changes. Pakistan also said both countries would go to Washington for a meeting in April to chart “the way forward”, a meeting that would be mediated by the World Bank.
India has refused to say clearly whether it would go to the meeting, the MEA leaving it cryptic with a “premature to talk of hypothetical contingencies.” According to the IWT, India is permitted to construct water storage on western rivers – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – up to 3.6 million acre feet for various purposes, including domestic use.
Meanwhile, World Bank will give US$175 million for India’s National Hydrology Project, intended to strengthen the capacity of the country’s institutions to assess the water situation in different regions and reduce vulnerability to recurring flood and droughts.