Indian officials and representatives of the World Bank on 5 January 2017 discussed the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The discussion was aimed at resolving the deadlock between India and Pakistan over construction of Kishenganga and Ratle hydel power projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
What is the issue?
• The sharing of water from the Indus between India and Pakistan is governed by the Indus Water Treaty.
• India planned to construct Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants on the Indus River System in Jammu Kashmir.
• The power plants are being built on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers respectively.
• Pakistan raised objections against these projects claiming that they would alter the river flows and affect the Pakistan adversely.
• To resolve the differences, India and Pakistan asked the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert and a Court of Arbitration respectively under the IWT.
• As a response, the World Bank decided to put in place the necessary processes by 12 December 2016.
• However, the Bank withdrew its decision on 13 December 2016 by stating that the concurrent process would make the treaty unworkable over time.
About Indus Water Treaty
• It is a water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan.
• The treaty was brokered by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which is at present, is a part of the World Bank Group.
• The treaty was signed on 19 September 1960 by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and the President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.
• As per the treaty, the control over the three western flowering rivers of the Indus River System – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab were vested in Pakistan, while the control over the eastern flowing rivers – Ravi, Beas and Sutlej is in India’s hands.
• The treaty provides for dispute resolution mechanism at three levels viz., Questions, Differences and Disputes.
• The Questions will be resolved in the Permanent Indus Commission which will be represented by India and Pakistan.
• The unresolved Questions i.e. Differences will be resolved through the appointment of a neutral expert.
• The Disputes will be resolved through a Permanent Court of Arbitration.
• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced stopping the meetings of Permanent Indus Commission in September 2016.
• The decision was taken against the backdrop of Pathankot and Uri terrorist attacks that killed scores of Indian armed forces personnel.