NEW DELHI: First meeting of newly formed high-level task force to look into the strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan, is expected to be held in the next coming week to take stock of all projects other ongoing activities on the six rivers on the Indian side. Government on Saturday issued the notification of task force on Indus Water Treaty under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Prime minister Nirpendra Mishra with other members like National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jashankar, Secretaries of ministries including Environment, Power and Water Resource and Finance. Task Force will also called Chief Secretaries of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, the states from where the six Indus system rivers flow as invitees to its meetings.
After September 18 attack on Indian army’s Uri Brigade, killing 19 Indian soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while deciding to take a hard look at the treaty, had said that “blood and water could not flow together”. Three after it, task force was set up to reviews the 56-year-old water distribution agreement.
Official sources maintained that the all –powerful task force will take decision on all important strategic and policy issue in connection with the treaty.
Meanwhile, the World Bank, which has paused two separate mechanisms, will expected to send an expert to discuss with both India and Pakistan their versions on designs of Kishenganga and Ratle projects being constructed by India in Jammu and Kashmir. The World Bank’s move came after Pakistan in September, flagged concerns with the World Bank that the design of the Kishenganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under Indus Water Treaty, by demanding for a Court of Arbitration to look into the matter.
Indian has strongly denied Pakistan’s claims by asserting that the project design is "well within parameters" of the treaty and urged the World Bank to appoint a neutral expert as the issue is a "technical matter" as suggested in the treaty. World Bank is also a party to the treaty.