Lahore: India and Pakistan have agreed to meet in September in Washington DC to continue discussions over the Indus Waters Treaty.
The World Bank hosted the two-day secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters talks, which concluded on Tuesday in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation and agreed to meet during the next round of talks which will also be held at the bank's headquarters in Washington.
The World Bank has said that India is permitted to construct the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants on Jhelum and the Chenab rivers as specified in the Indus Waters Treaty. But Pakistan has opposed whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the treaty.
"The plants are on respectively a tributary of the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers. The treaty designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the "Western Rivers" to which Pakistan has unrestricted use. Among other uses, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the treaty," the World Bank stated in a factsheet.
The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.
The World Bank stated in its factsheet that Pakistan has asked it to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects. However, India has asked for the appointment of a Neutral Expert for the same purpose.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim had announced in December 2016 that the World Bank would pause before taking further steps in each of the two processes requested by the parties.
Since December 2016, the World Bank has worked towards an amicable resolution of the matter and to safeguard the Treaty.