05:26 GMT +319 November 2019
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    A view of the under-construction dam tunnels at the site of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation's 2000 megawatt Subansiri Lower hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh state, India. (File)

    World Bank Blinks: India Sees Moral Victory in ‘Water War’ with Pakistan

    © AP Photo / Anupam Nath
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    India and Pakistan had approached the World Bank over two hydel projects in the wake of tensions after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri. Indian PM had publicly announced that blood and water cannot flow together; and directed faster construction of hydel projects that is objected by Pakistan.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India sees a moral victory over Pakistan after the World Bank announced a pause to two separate processes to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus rivers system. The World Bank expects the issue could be resolved in an amicable manner by the end of January.

    "We are announcing this pause to protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

    The Bank had appointed the Chairman for the Court of Arbitration as well as a Neutral Expert for resolving the dispute over utilization of waters from common rivers.

    "The Indian government had pointed out the legal untenability of the World Bank launching two simultaneous processes — appointment of a Neutral Expert (requested by India) and the establishment of a Court of Arbitration (requested by Pakistan) to adjudicate technical differences on Kishenganga and Ralte [hydel] projects. By temporarily halting both the processes, the Bank has confirmed that pursuing the two concurrent processes can render the Treaty unworkable over time," said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, India's Ministry of External Affairs in response to the World Bank move to pause the processes.

    In fact the World Bank has used the same argument given by India. "Both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that could potentially endanger the Treaty," it said.

    Though dispute over the construction of Kishenganga hydelelectric project was settled in year 2013 in India's favor, Pakistan went to World Bank again as India expedited the work on project in a response to September terror attack on Indian Army Camp.

    To expedite work on the project, India had requested World Bank to appoint a neutral expert to sort out technical issues while Pakistan demanded a Court of Arbitration to hear its objections. Pakistan had objected to the design of the project on Indian side of J&K because it claimed that the project will "adversely'' affect the flow of Kishenganga water, known as Neelum in the Pakistan.




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