Pakistan has expressed hope that India will fulfil its obligations under the “Indus Waters Treaty” in good faith. This statement follows India’s announcement on July 6 that it cannot be compelled to engage in what it deems illegal proceedings at the “Permanent Court of Arbitration” regarding the Kishenganga and Ratle hydropower projects in Kashmir. “The Permanent Court of Arbitration” recently ruled that it has the authority to consider the dispute between India and Pakistan.
India has consistently maintained that it will not participate in Pakistan-initiated proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration because the dispute is already being examined by a neutral expert under the framework of the “Indus Waters Treaty.” In January, India issued a notice to Pakistan requesting a review and modification of the treaty due to Islamabad’s refusal to comply with the pact’s dispute resolution mechanism.
The Indus Waters Treaty, brokered by the World Bank in 1960, governs matters pertaining to cross-border rivers. Pakistan’s Foreign Office in Islamabad has welcomed the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s affirmation of its competence and expressed its commitment to the treaty’s implementation, including its dispute settlement mechanism.
India argues that the initiation of two parallel processes to resolve the dispute contradicts the three-step graded mechanism outlined in the treaty. According to India’s spokesperson, Mr. Bagchi, the establishment of the so-called Court of Arbitration violates the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. However, India has been participating in neutral expert proceedings that adhere to the treaty’s guidelines. The last meeting of the neutral expert took place in The Hague in February, and the next meeting is scheduled for September. The “World Bank” is also a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty.
In summary, Pakistan hopes that India will adhere to the “Indus Waters Treaty” in good faith, while India maintains its position that the ongoing neutral expert proceedings should be the sole means of resolving the dispute, considering the perceived shortcomings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s constitution.