The World Bank has said that India is allowed 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.
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.
Since December 2016, the World Bank has worked towards an amicable resolution of the matter and to safeguard the Treaty.