A Pakistani delegation reached New Delhi on Monday for a meeting of the Indus water commissioners of Pakistan and India, in which a host of issues including Islamabad’s concerns over the design and construction of a number of Indian upstream dams and irrigation plans will be discussed. The delegation, led by Pakistan’s Indus water commissioner Mehr Ali Shah, will hold two-day talks with the Indian team led by Pradeep Kumar Saxena. The meetings will take place after a gap of around two and half years. The last meeting took place in Lahore in August 2018. “The talks are being held against the backdrop of a thaw in bilateral relations,” Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reported. As per the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, their water commissioners are required to meet at least once a year, alternately in Pakistan and India. “Our delegation headed by the Indus Water Commissioner will take part in the meeting in New Delhi on March 23 and 24,” Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, a spokesperson for the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, said last week, adding that the meeting was part of the Indus Waters Treaty and both sides would discuss issues of mutual interest, including some controversial Indian hydropower projects. The Indus Waters Treaty between Pakistan and India was brokered by the World Bank and signed in Karachi in 1960. The treaty gives control over the waters of the three eastern rivers – the Bias, Ravi and Sutlej – to India, while control over the waters of the three western rivers – the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – lies with Pakistan. Under the treaty, both countries can approach the World Bank for arbitration in case of disputes over the use of water resources. Pakistan approached the World Bank in August 2016 to constitute a court of arbitration over two disputed Indian projects: the 330 megawatts Kishanganga and 850 megawatts Ratle hydropower projects. The Bank has not yet set up the court as India has sought the appointment of a neutral expert to resolve the conflict. Pakistan is also taking up two ongoing disputes with India – over the 1000MW Pakal Dul and 40MW Lower Kalnai – at the Indus commissioners’ level. Islamabad says it will take the issues to the World Bank for mediation if it fails to resolve them at the bilateral level. In recent years India has also begun ambitious irrigation plans and construction of many upstream dams, saying its use of upstream water is strictly in line with the treaty. Pakistan has opposed some of these projects saying they violate the World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus waters, upon which 80 percent of its irrigated agriculture depends. Shortly after the partition of the sub-continent into Pakistan and India in August 1947, tensions soared over water rights of the rivers flowing between them. Since the ratification of the treaty after nine years of negotiations, both neighbors have not engaged in any water wars, despite waging full-scale wars over the Muslim majority Kashmir valley, which both claim in full and rule in part.