NEW DELHI: India, after taking umbrage to the World Bank launching two simultaneous processes to resolve the issues with its neighbor Pakistan, on Thursday contended that the differences on Indus Water Treaty between the two arch rivals should be resolved “bilaterally”.
The World Bank, a guarantor for the treaty, has paused the two separate processes of arbitration and appointing a neutral expert, after India raised objections over the two simultaneous processes to resolve the disagreements over Kishenganga and Ratle project. India has contended that the two countries can resolve the issues bilaterally.
"There are examples available where such matters had been successfully resolved bilaterally within the Permanent Indus Commission (such as the height of the freeboard for Kishanganga) or between the two governments as seen in the Salal Hydro Electric Project in 1978.
"Given the will to address these matters through appropriate mechanisms provided for in the Indus Waters Treaty, there is no reason why the technical design parameters on which Pakistan has raised objections cannot be sorted out by professional, technical experts from both sides," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday.
The treaty inked in September 1960 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President General Ayub Khyan makes arrangement for the sharing of water of six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The treaty has stood the test of the times and is an example of cooperative arrangement between the two countries even through the wars they have fought.
Pakistan has been demanding arbitration whereas India has suggested appointment of neutral expert. There have been feelers given by the Pakistan authorities that they will soon be getting in touch with their Indian counterparts to hold parleys on the points of disagreements. India has advised the World Bank that adequate time should be given to consultations.
"It is a matter of satisfaction that this point has now been recognised by the World Bank. We believe that these consultations should be given adequate time," Swarup added.
The development has come in the backdrop of the strained relations between the two nuclear-armed countries and has New Delhi has been mulling to utilise the full share of water allocated to it under the pact.