The Bold Voice of J&K

Dam row

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India has taken strong exception to the World Bank’s “inexplicable” decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir. Surprised at the World Bank’s decision to appoint a Neutral Expert, as sought by the Indian government and at the same time establish a Court of Arbitration as wanted by Pakistan, India said proceeding with both the steps simultaneously “legally untenable”. Inexplicably, the World Bank has decided to continue to proceed with these two parallel mechanisms simultaneously. India cannot be party to actions which are not in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty. India should walkout of the treaty and there is no need to examine further options and take steps accordingly. Under the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan and also the World Bank in 1960, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes. India had asked the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert to resolve the differences of a technical nature which are within the domain of a neutral technical expert. Pakistan had sought the establishment of a Court of Arbitration, which is normally the logical next step in the process of resolution in the Treaty. The Neutral Expert can also determine that there are issues beyond mere technical differences, he noted. Pakistan has raised objections over the design of the hydel project in J&K, saying it is not in line with the criteria laid down under the Indus Waters Treaty between the two countries. Noting that despite India’s clear advice not to proceed with both together, the World Bank has decided otherwise, thereby, raising questions over the “viability and workability” of the 56-year-old Treaty. There is a need for Prime Minister and BJP to get off the high horse of jingoism and introspect on foreign policy for Pakistan. For Pakistan any initiative of normalization of relations with India is Jammu and Kashmir centric and treats the dispute as the root cause of mutual distrust and other bilateral issues.

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