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India harming Pakistan's hydel, agriculture projects, claims FM Khawaja Asif

News Agencies | Updated on: 29 August 2017, 17:28 IST

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on 29 August charged India with harming his country's hydel and agricultural projects.

Asif made these remarks while addressing a ceremony at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

Criticising India for allegedly violating the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, Asif said New Delhi has stopped abiding by the treaty and has constructed various projects in violation of the treaty.

Terming the issue of the Indus Waters Treaty as an important one between the two countries, Asif urged the Indian side to abide by the treaty as India does.

"It is in the interest of both India and Pakistan to honour the treaty," Geo News quoted Asif, as saying.

The World Bank had earlier this month allowed India to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters Treaty concluded this week in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation.

"Both India and Pakistan have agreed to continue discussions over the Indus Waters Treaty and reconvene in September in Washington, DC," the World Bank said in a brief statement.

India is permitted to construct the Kishenganga (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.

Both India and Pakistan are expected to meet in United States next month to continue discussions over the Indus Waters Treaty.

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 aCourt 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.


First published: 29 August 2017, 17:28 IST