Why in news?
Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India. The World Bank has said that India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after secretary-level discussions between India and pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters Treaty concluded recently in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation.
Facts ( For Prelims)
Indus Water Treaty (IWT):
The six rivers of the Indus basin originate in Tibet and flow across the Himalayan ranges to end in the Arabian sea south of Karachi. The components of the treaty were fairly simple. The three western rivers (Jhelum, Chenab and Indus) were allocated to Pakistan while India was given control over the three eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej). While India could use the western rivers for consumption purpose, restrictions were placed on building of storage systems. The treaty states that aside of certain specific cases, no storage and irrigation systems can be built by India on the western rivers.
Analysis ( for Mains)
Difference between India and Pakistan:
The two countries disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the Treaty. The plants are on respectively a tributary of the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers. The Treaty designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the “Western Rivers” to which Pakistan has unrestricted use. Among other uses, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the Treaty.
Pakistan had approached the World Bank last year, raising concerns over the designs of two hydroelectricity projects located in Jammu and Kashmir. It had demanded that the World Bank, which is the mediator between the two countries under the 57-year-old water distribution pact, set up a court of arbitration to look into its concerns.
India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issues, contending the concerns Pakistan raised were “technical” ones.
Steps taken by World Bank:
The international lender had in November 2016 initiated two simultaneous processes — for appointing neutral expert and establishment of court of arbitration to look into technical differences between the two countries in connection with the projects, however, were halted after India objected to it. After that, representatives of the World Bank held talks with India and Pakistan to find a way out separately.
Source: ET and First Post