Indo-Pak high-level 'water talks' to begin in Washington from April

Karachi [Pakistan], Mar. 21 (ANI): Following the intervention of the United States and the World Bank, India and Pakistan will begin negotiations over the disputed hydropower projects in April.

Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif said that the two nations would hold three-day secretary-level talks on the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects, under the aegis of the World Bank in Washington from April 11, reports Dawn.

Speaking on the sidelines of the two-day talks between Indus water commissioners from both sides, the minister welcomed New Delhi's decision to resume negotiations under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty on the proposed Pakul Dal, Miyar and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects, disputed by Pakistan.

"The US has intervened at the highest level to help both countries resolve the issue. There will be secretary-level talks on the Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower projects in Washington on April 11, 12 and 13. We are happy that India has finally agreed to resume talks at the commission level. We welcome this decision and the visit of the Indian delegation," he said at a press conference.

The 10-member Indian delegation currently in Islamabad is led by Indian Indus Water Commissioner P.K. Saxena.

Asif further noted that the World Bank-sponsored International Court of Arbitration had given its verdict in Pakistan's favour over the Kishanganga project and Islamabad was now demanding that it be implemented.

However, he pointed a finger at India for not sharing the design of their projects with Pakistan, as required under the treaty, adding that Islamabad had serious reservations over these projects and believed they would give India the capacity to impede water flows to Pakistan.

Last September, Pakistan approached the World Bank when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to revoke the 56-year-old treaty following the Uri attack.

Under the treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishment of the Court of Arbitration.

The two countries held the Indus Water Commission last time in May, 2015 in New Delhi. (ANI)