Published On: Wed, Aug 2nd, 2017

India permitted to construct Kishanganga, Ratle hydroelectric projects: WB

Washington: India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), the World Bank has said.

The parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington

The World Bank’s comments came as officials from India Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks over the IWT.

Pakistan and India have concluded the much-delayed water talks here “in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation”, raising hopes of avoiding further tensions over an issue with far-reaching consequences.

“The Secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues on the Indus Waters Treaty took place this week in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation,” the World Bank said in a statement.

“The parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington,” it added.

The Secretary of Water and Power, Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, led the Pakistani delegation at the two-day talks which ended on Tuesday at the World Bank headquarters.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, Amarjit Singh, headed the Indian delegation. The Indian team also included representatives from the External Affairs Ministry.

Pakistan has been protesting over the design and construction of two projects – the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project and the 850 MW Ratle hydroelectric project – on the tributaries of the Indus in Jammu and Kashmir.

Noting that the two countries disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the treaty, the World Bank said the IWT 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 Bank said in its fact sheet.

The two countries last held talks over the two projects in March this year during the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in Pakistan.

Pakistan has been protesting over the design and construction of two projects – the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project and the 850 MW Ratle hydroelectric project – on the tributaries of the Indus in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 and involves six rivers: the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

The treaty came close to being jeopardized following the cross-border terror attack on September 18 last year on an Indian Army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

Blaming the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed for the attack, New Delhi said it would consider revisiting the Indus Waters Treaty, which has withstood three wars and is seen as one of the most successful international agreements.

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