US initiates process to resolve Indo-Pak Indus Water Treaty dispute: Report
The US administration has initiated the process to resolve the water dispute between India and Pakistan without waiting for a formal invitation, Dawn reported on Tuesday while quoting officials from Washington.
The latest dispute is related to Pakistan’s concerns about the two hydroelectric power plants – Kishanganga and Ratle – that India is building on the Indus rivers system. Pakistan believes that the projects violate the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), which was signed between the two nations in 1960 and brokered by the World Bank.
The initiative stems from the fear the US administration shares with the World Bank that the dispute may harm the treaty that has effectively resolved water disputes between India and Pakistan for more than half a century.
Earlier, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wrote to the Finance Ministers of India and Pakistan, informing them that he has ‘paused’ the requested arbitration and asked them to decide by the end of January how they wanted to settle the dispute.
India, while rejecting Pakistan’s charge, took strong exception to the World Bank’s decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against the two projects.
Last Friday, US secretary of state John Kerry called Pakistan finance minister Ishaq Dar and told him that the US wanted a harmonious solution on the issue. According to a statement issued by Islamabad, Kerry told Dar that the WB president had recently informed him about Pakistan's complaints against India regarding the IWT.
The statement further added that Dar told Kerry that Pakistan appreciates US support and Islamabad’s legal position on the Indus Water Treaty, but it was the responsibility of the World Bank to make sure India honoured the treaty.