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India on Thursday raised questions over ‘legally untenable action’ of World Bank while dealing with Indo-Pak differences on Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects under Indus Waters Treaty, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). In response to a query on Kishenganga matter at the World Bank, MEA official spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, said, “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.”
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The statement further said, “On the issue of differences between India and Pakistan on Kishenganga and Ratle Hydroelectric Projects under the Indus Waters Treaty, 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.”
Commenting on The World Bank’s decision to proceed with both steps simultaneously the statement said that the two parallel difference or dispute resolution mechanisms at the same time is legally untenable. “The World Bank has decided to proceed with both steps simultaneously. It was pointed by the Government to the World Bank that the pursuit of two parallel difference/ dispute resolution mechanisms – appointment of a Neutral Expert and establishment of a Court of Arbitration – at the same time is 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. The Government will examine further options and take steps accordingly.”