India, Pakistan hold water-sharing talks amid thaw in frozen ties

India and Pakistan are holding their first meeting in three years of a commission on water rights from the Indus River in a further sign of rapprochement in relations frozen since 2019 during disputes over Kashmir.

The Permanent Indus Commission, set up in 1960, will meet for two days in New Delhi starting Tuesday, according to two Indian officials involved with water issues and Pakistan’s foreign ministry.

Last month, India and Pakistan announced a rare agreement to stop firing along the bitterly-contested Kashmir border, which Bloomberg said was also the result of UAE-brokered talks.

There was no immediate comment from India, Pakistan or the UAE to the Bloomberg report.

The Indus River, one of the world’s largest, and its tributaries feed 80 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated agriculture.

At the water-sharing talks, both sides are expected to try and narrow differences over the hydro-projects, Indian officials said.

One of the Indian officials, who asked to remain unidentified, said the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai projects, along with a couple of others – which Pakistan is concerned would hurt the flow of water downstream – were in line with the provisions of the treaty.

“We will discuss to allay those objections, we believe in an amicable resolution,” the official said.

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