Pakistani, Indian representatives attend neutral expert proceedings over water dispute in Vienna


ANKARA: Pakistani and Indian officials participated in a two-day meeting convened by a neutral expert in Vienna to resolve the long-standing water dispute between the two South Asian nuclear neighbours.

According to the Indian Foreign Ministry, senior advocate Harish Salve attended the meeting as India’s lead counsel.

“A delegation from India, led by the secretary of the Department of Water Resources, attended a meeting of the neutral expert proceedings in the Kishenganga and Ratle matter at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Vienna on Sept. 20 and 21,” local news agency PTI reported, citing a ministry statement.

The meeting was convened by the neutral expert appointed on India’s request under the aegis of the Indus Waters Treaty and was attended by representatives of India and Pakistan, it said.

In July this year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) rejected India’s objections to its jurisdiction over New Delhi’s dispute with Pakistan on two key hydropower projects. India had rejected the ruling.

The PCA, in its decision in The Hague, ruled that it has the “competence” to consider matters concerning the 330-megawatt Kishanganga and the 850MW Ratle hydroelectric projects, which have long been a source of contention between the two nuclear rivals.

The PCA ruling came after a lingering legal battle between the two neighbours who, apart from water-sharing, are locked in a string of land and sea disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The two long-time rivals share the water of six rivers under the IWT, a water-sharing agreement brokered by the World Bank in 1960.

Under the agreement, the waters of the eastern rivers – the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi – have been allocated to India, while the three western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – go to Pakistan.

Pakistan accuses India of “continuously violating” the treaty by building dams on the western rivers, whereas New Delhi thinks Islamabad controls more water than New Delhi as a result of the treaty.

India is also locked in a water dispute with China on the construction of dams and proposed diversion of the Brahmaputra River, which originates in Tibet and provides a third of India’s needs for