India weighing options to restart talks with Pak

Indus Waters Treaty has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan

Indian officials will visit Pakistan to attend the meeting of Permanent Indus Commission in Lahore this month, Indian media reported.

The last meeting of the commission was held in June 2015.

The meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission will be held before March 31 "as it is mandated" under the treaty, government sources said today.

When India had said that it is ready to engage in further consultations with Islamabad in order to resolve current differences over the Kishenganga and Ralte projects that come under the treaty, Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or modifications in the IWT. Modi had said a year ago, after India suspended the meeting, that water and blood can not flow together. In addition to India's moderating aggression on the Indus treaty, last few weeks have also seen a marked reduction in the ongoing, nearly daily exchange of fire across the Line of Control; a lenient take on the issue of prisoners by both countries; the regular exchange of nuclear lists between Islamabad and New Delhi and even the appointment of the new secretary general of the regional bloc, SAARC, from Pakistan - the country's first since 1998. They said that India bought time to complete the two projects and then said that the projects could not be modified.

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Tensions heightened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan.

The treaty which was signed in 1960 gives India control over the three rivers of the Indus basin, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej while Pakistan has the three western rivers, the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

Echoing similar sentiments, another defence expert Sunil Deshpande said India has realized that it should utilize the assigned amount of water of the Indus River and must take advantage of the liberty which the treaty has provided. More than a mere water agreement, Indus Water Treaty is rightfully honoured as a landmark reminder of the historic cooperation that has stood the test of time and war.

The commission, which has officials from both the countries as its members, was set up under the 57-year-old treaty to discuss and resolve issues relating to its implementation. The function of the commission is to maintain and exchange data and co-operation between the two countries.

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