June 16, 2024

New Delhi, July 07: After India rejected Pakistan’s ‘illegal’ bid over Indus Water dispute, the court rejected New Delhi’s objections to a Pakistan-initiated procedure over water use in the Indus River basin, reopening a procedure that had been blocked for many years.

India rejected Pakistan’s ‘illegal’ bid to move to a Hague-based court

The Indian side has contended that Pakistan’s move to approach the Hague-based tribunal was illegal since the disputes were already being addressed by a neutral expert under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. Earlier this year, India also sought the modification of the six-decade-old treaty because of the Pakistani side’s “intransigence”.
India’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said India’s “consistent and principled position has been that the constitution of this so-called court of arbitration is in contravention of the clear letter and spirit of the Indus Water Treaty”.

He said India was participating in the proceedings of the neutral expert, which he called “the only treaty-consistent proceedings at this juncture”. “Legal sophistry” will not compel India to participate in the proceedings of the PCA, Bagchi said. India said the construction of its Kishanganga and Ratle Hydro Electric projects is allowed by the treaty.
Bagchi reiterated that the Indian government has been in talks with its Pakistani counterpart “on the modification of the Indus Waters Treaty under Article XII (3)”.
Court rules against India

A statement from the Permanent Court of Arbitration said the tribunal had considered objections to the competence of the court raised by India in the form of correspondence with the World Bank. The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan, and was brokered by the World Bank, which too was a signatory.

The statement said: “In a unanimous decision, which is binding on the Parties and without appeal, the Court rejected each of the objections raised by India and determined that the Court is competent to consider and determine the disputes set forth in Pakistan’s Request for Arbitration.”

The Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a procedural order regarding the next phase of the proceedings. “In the next phase, the Court will address certain questions concerning the overall interpretation and application of the [Indus Waters] Treaty’s provisions on hydro-electric project design and operation, as well as the legal effect of past decisions of dispute resolution bodies under the Treaty,” the statement said.

Pakistan “hope that India would also implement the Treaty in good faith”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that it remained fully committed to the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty and its settlement mechanism, which it termed a “foundational agreement” between the two countries. “We hope that India would also implement the Treaty in good faith,” Foreign Office spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement on Thursday night.
 

 

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