New Delhi: India`s Indus Commissioner issued a notice to Pakistani counterpart to notify a date for the commencement of interstate bilateral negotiations to rectify an ongoing material breach of the Indus Water treaty, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday. He further said that India is not involved in the process of the arbitration court.” We have issued rather our India`s Indus Commissioner issued a notice on January 25 for modification of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 to his Pakistani counterpart.
This notice was issued with the intent to provide Pakistan an opportunity to enter into government-to-government negotiations, to rectify an ongoing material breach of the treaty. We have called upon Pakistan to notify a suitable date for the commencement of interstate bilateral negotiations under article XII (3) within 90 days,” Bagchi said in response to a question on India’s notice to Pakistan for amendments to the Indus water treaty.
“I am not aware of a response from Pakistan as of yet. I am not aware of any response or comment by the World Bank,” Bagchi said. He added by saying that India is not participating or involved in the process in any way, in response to a media query on New Delhi`s position on the arbitration court. India issued notice to Pakistan on January 25 for modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of September 1960 after Islamabad`s actions adversely impinged the provisions of the treaty, according to sources.The notice was conveyed on January 25 through respective Commissioners for Indus Waters as per Article XII (3) of the IWT.
The objective of the notice for modification, according to sources, is to provide Pakistan with an opportunity to enter into intergovernmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of the IWT. This process would also update IWT to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said last week that the Indus Waters Treaty is a technical matter and future course of action will depend on talks between the Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan. is happening in Pakistan. This is a technical matter, Indus Commissioners of both countries will talk about the Indus Water Treaty. We can only discuss our future steps after that,” he said.
India has always been a responsible partner in implementing the IWT. Pakistan`s actions, however, have encroached on the provisions of IWT and their implementation and forced India to issue an appropriate notice for modification of IWT. In 2015, Pakistan requested the appointment of a Neutral Expert to examine its technical objections to India`s Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs).
In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally retracted this request and proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate its objections. Pakistan, despite repeated efforts by India to find a mutually agreeable way forward, has refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022. The World Bank at Pakistan`s continued insistence initiated actions on both the Neutral Expert and Court of Arbitration processes. Such parallel consideration of the same issues is not covered under any provision of IWT.
The World Bank in October 2022, made appointments in two separate processes requested by India and Pakistan in relation to the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants.It appointed a chairman of the Court of Arbitration and a neutral expert “in line with its responsibilities” under the Indus Waters Treaty. A World Bank release said that the two countries disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the treaty.
Michel Lino was appointed as the Neutral Expert and Sean Murphy was appointed as Chairman of the Court of Arbitration. They will carry out their duties in their individual capacity as subject matter experts and independently of any other appointments they may currently hold, the release said.