In­dia and Pak talks fail to end dead­lock on In­dus wa­ter row

The lat­est dis­pute arose over the con­struc­tion of the 330-MW Kishen­ganga and 850-MW Ra­tle hy­dro­elec­tric plants on the trib­u­taries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers in J&K

The Free Press Journal - - WORLD - AGEN­CIES

Two days of talks here be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan amidst the cur­rent chill in bi­lat­eral ties failed to break the dead­lock on the de­sign of two hy­dro-elec­tric power plants in Jammu and Kash­mir. The Septem­ber 14-15 sec­re­tary-level talks un­der the aus­pices of the World Bank on the tech­ni­cal is­sues of the Kishen­ganga and Ra­tle hy­dro-elec­tric power plants within the frame­work of the 1960 In­dus Wa­ters Treaty. The World Bank, which is also a sig­na­tory to the wa­ter shar­ing treaty be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan, as­sured the two coun­tries of its con­tin­ued as­sis­tance in re­solv­ing the is­sues peace­fully.

"While an agree­ment has not been reached at the con­clu­sion of the meet­ings, the World Bank will con­tinue to work with both coun­tries to re­solve the is­sues in an am­i­ca­ble man­ner and in line with the treaty pro­vi­sions," the bank said in a state­ment. "Both coun­tries and the World Bank ap­pre­ci­ated the dis­cus­sions and re­con­firmed their com­mit­ment to the preser­va­tion of the treaty, re­ports IANS.

"The World Bank re­mains com­mit­ted to act in good faith and with com­plete im­par­tial­ity and trans­parency in ful­fill­ing its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the treaty, while con­tin­u­ing to as­sist the coun­tries."

The In­dian side was led by union Wa­ter Re­sources Sec­re­tary Amar­jit Singh and Deepak Mit­tal, Joint Sec­re­tary in charge of the Pak­istan desk in the Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry, as one its mem­bers.The Pak­istan team was led by Sec­re­tary, Wa­ter Re­sources Di­vi­sion Arif Ahmed Khan along with Sec­re­tary of Wa­ter and Power Yousuf Naseem KhoÂkhar.

The wa­ter shar­ing agree­ment -- seen as one of the most suc­cess­ful in­ter­na­tional treaties and hav­ing sur­vived resur­gent In­di­aPak­istan con­flict -- was signed in 1960 af­ter nine years of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two coun­tries with the help of the World Bank.

The lat­est dis­pute arose over the con­struc­tion of the 330-MW Kishen­ganga and 850-MW Ra­tle hy­dro­elec­tric plants on the trib­u­taries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers in Jammu and Kash­mir.

In a sim­i­lar dis­cus­sion in Au­gust, In­dia was al­lowed to con­struct the power plants af­ter talks on the tech­ni­cal is­sues over the In­dus Wa­ters Treaty con­cluded in a "spirit of good­will and co­op­er­a­tion".

Pak­istan, how­ever, al­leged that In­dia had vi­o­lated the treaty by un­re­stricted use of the wa­ters of the two western rivers, ques­tion­ing if the tech­ni­cal de­sign fea­tures of the two hy­dro­elec­tric plants con­tra­vened the agree­ment.

The fresh round of talks be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan came even as New Delhi has been dis­cour­ag­ing any en­gage­ment with Islamabad till it stops cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism fol­low­ing ter­ror at­tacks at an air base in Pun­jab's Pathankot and a mil­i­tary camp in Jammu and Kash­mir Uri bor­der sec­tor.

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