World Bank Wants India Pakistan To Create Bilateral Consensus On Water Dispute Resolution

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SRINAGAR: The World Bank that negotiated the water sharing Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan has washed its off from any mediation between the two neighbours, Pakistan newspaper The Dawn reported. The two countries have running dispute of a number of power projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Both India and Pakistan should come together as to which option to take forward,” Patchamuthu Illangovan, the World Bank’s former Country Director of Pakistan was quoted saying by the newspaper. He has been in Pakistan on a 5-year term.

Pakistan had made a request for appointment of a Court of Arbitration (COA) while India had sought a neutral expert to resolve their dispute on two hydroelectric projects. “Because of two conflicting positions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, the World Bank was facilitating the two governments to find ways in resolving differences and move forward,” the newspaper said the WB country director said. “There is no provision in the treaty for the World Bank to take an independent decision.”

World Bank executive said it will not support Pakistan’s Diamer-Basha project because India has objected to it as the “location in a disputed area”.

Almost four years back, Pakistan had sought Court of Arbitration (COA) for addressing its dipuste with India over 330-MW Kishanganga and 850-MW Ratle Hydropower projects but the WB has not decided because Delhi wants a Neutral Expert instead. Unlike Ratle, Kishanganga is operational for more than two years now.

In December 2016, the newspaper said the WB announced that it had “paused” the process for either appointing a COA or a neutral expert and started mediation between the two countries on how to advance and develop consensus in the light of the treaty on the mechanism for resolution of faulty designs of the two projects. The last round of bank-facilitated and secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan were held in Washington in September 2015 with no progress.

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