Pakistan begin talks with World Bank on India's Kishanganga project

Fearing disruption in water supply, Pakistan and World Bank have started talks in Washington D.C. over the recently-inaugurated Kishanganga hydropower project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Alleging violation of the Indus Waters Treaty, the four-member Pakistani delegation, led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf, is urging the World Bank to set up a court of arbitration to resolve the issue.

The government of Pakistan informed about the talks from its Twitter handle.

"Pakistan & World Bank have started talks in Washington on India's Kishanganga hydropower project on River Neelum in Occupied Kashmir. The Pakistani delegation is led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf & Pakistan is demanding to set up a court of arbitration to settle the dispute," the Pakistani Government tweeted.

The talks are taking place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on May 19, inaugurated the 330-MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district.

Earlier on May 18, Pakistan's Foreign Office raised concern about the plant, saying it will violate the treaty that regulates the use of waters in the shared rivers and protested against the construction of the project.

However, as per India, it is permitted to construct the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants on Jhelum and the Chenab rivers as specified in the Indus Water Treaty.

India also argues that the treaty also allows "other uses", including the construction of hydroelectric plants.

The Kishanganga plant is a part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.

The Kishanganga River also stretches into Pakistan, which is known as the Neelum River there.

India started work on the Kishanganga project in 2009. However, Pakistan protested against the construction of the project and took the matter to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which stayed the project for three years.

Ultimately in 2013, the court ruled that the Kishanganga project was "a run-of-river plant within the parameters of the Indus Water Treaty and that India may accordingly divert water from the Kishanganga River for power generation".

The project was fast-tracked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government after it came into power in May 2014.

The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution agreement between India and Pakistan that paves way for a cooperative framework for both the countries to address current and future challenges of effective water management.

The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by then prime minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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