India on Thursday strongly pitched for bilateral redressal of differences with Pakistan while implementing the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty, a day after World Bank announced pausing of the two separate processes started to look into dispute on Kishenganga and Ratle project. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said given the will, there is no reason why the technical design parameters on which Pakistan has raised objections cannot be sorted out by experts from both sides on projects like Kishenganga.
India had advised the World Bank, which is a party to the Treaty, not to rush into initiating two parallel processes simultaneously and hold more consultations, he said. India has always believed that the implementation of the IWT, which includes the redressal of the technical questions and differences, should be done bilaterally between India and Pakistan, Swarup said. “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,” he said. India believes that these consultations should be given adequate time.
“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,” the Spokesperson said. Yesterday, World Bank had announced pausing of the two separate processes initiated under the IWT to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements. The development also comes in the backdrop of India recently reviewing the IWT and deciding to fully utilise its share water of rivers as per its rights under the pact.
Earlier, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh today said that “India has always strictly adhered to the letter and spirit of the Treaty and expects Pakistan to abide by the Treaty and not impede realisation of the full potential of the development of Indus and its rivers”.
Under the IWT, which covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.