India says it is conscious for international obligations on Kishenganga, Ratle project
New Delhi [India], Dec.14 (ANI): A day after the World Bank asked both India and Pakistan to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty 1960, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, said on Wednesday that India is conscious of its international obligations with regard to the Kishenganga and Ratle hydro projects.
"India remains fully conscious of its international obligations and is ready to engage in further consultations on the matter of resolving current differences regarding these two projects," Swarup said.
The World Bank has said it is temporarily halting the appointment of a neutral expert as requested by India, and the Chairman of the Court of Arbitration as requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus River system.
Responding to this development, Swarup said, "By temporarily halting both processes now, the bank has confirmed that pursuing the two concurrent processes can render the Indus Water Treaty unworkable over time."
"The government had pointed out on 10th of November the legal unattainability of the World Bank launching two simultaneously processes for appointment of a neutral expert requested by India, and establishment of Court of Arbitration requested by Pakistan to adjudicate technical difference between India and Pakistan on Kishenganga and Ratle project.
The pause was announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in letters to the finance ministers of India and Pakistan and emphasised that the Bank was acting to safeguard the Treaty.
"We are announcing this pause to protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants," said Kim.
"This is an opportunity for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable over time. I would hope that the two countries will come to an agreement by the end of January," he added.
The current processes under the treaty concern the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants. The power plants are being built by India on, respectively, the Kishenganga and Chenab Rivers. Neither of the two plants is being financed by the World Bank.
The Indus Waters Treaty 1960 is seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict.
The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries. It also sets out a process for resolving so-called "questions", "differences" and "disputes" that may arise between the parties. (ANI)