ISLAMABAD: Increasing the stakes, India has sent a notice to Islamabad asking for changes to the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960. The development comes following the concern of losing the case of disputed designs for 330 MW Kishenganga and 850 MW Ratle hydropower projects in the Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
India fears it won’t be able to build any more projects on Pakistani rivers with poundage and spillways.
What you need to know:
On Feb 7, Pakistani officials convened an important meeting to examine India’s requests for amendments to the treaty. These amendments were previously mediated by the World Bank. Invoking Article 12 of the treaty, India extended the notice. The matter was discussed by top officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Attorney General’s Office, Military Intelligence, and Inter Services Intelligence.
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The Pakistani government’s response to the Indian notification has also been carefully considered by the relevant authorities. It would then be made public and forwarded to New Delhi.
About the notice:
According to the official, Pakistan did not materially violate IWT, hence the Indian notification to modify it was uncalled for. Both parties have the right to request amendments under Article 12 of the treaty. However the current treaty will remain in effect unless one side agrees to the necessary revisions.
Pakistan used all available legal avenues at the Permanent Commission of Indus Waters (PCIW) secretariat level before approaching the World Bank to establish the Court of Arbitration. Following Pakistan’s request for the CoA, India submitted a request to the World Bank for the appointment of impartial experts.
On December 12, 2016, the World Bank declared a suspension and halted the procedures to establish an arbitration court, as requested by Pakistan and the neutral expert sought by India. The World Bank advised both nations to think about other options for resolving their differences.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has been pressuring the World Bank to end the hiatus because India sped up the Kishenganga project’s construction. It continued with the construction despite the Treaty’s restrictions, and it not only managed to finish the Kisgenganga but made it operational as well.
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