INDIA: After a gap of nearly two and a half years, the delegations of India and Pakistan held a meeting in order to normalize the bilateral ties between the two nations. The 116th round of the meeting between the Permanent Indus Commission, which coincided with National Pakistan Day was held on Monday. The meeting is viewed as a sliver of peaceful ties between the two neighboring countries.
The two-day meeting is being led on the Indian side by Indus Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena. The Pakistani delegation is led by Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mohammad Mehr Ali Shah.
One of the concerns raised from the Pakistani side was in relation to the design of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower plants in Jammu and Kashmir. Countering the concern, India justified its stance by stating that the Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) is proposed on the Marusudar river which is a tributary of the Chenab river, in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir. Along with this, the Lower Kalnai project is proposed in Kishtwar and Doda districts.
The annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission was the first after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir. After the militaries of India and Pakistan announced observing a ceasefire along the LOC and other border areas, the meeting is considered an important step towards better bilateral relations.
On the other side, hours after the conclusion of the first day’s meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind greeted Pakistan on the occasion of its National Day. Pakistan Resolution Day is a national holiday in Pakistan commemorating the Lahore Resolution passed on 23 March 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution.