Indus Water Treaty Dispute: World Bank appoints arbitrator to hear India, Pakistan

Michel Lino has been appointed as the neutral expert and Prof Sean Murphy has been appointed as chairman of the Court of Arbitration that will hear the two nations after Pakistan expressed concern that two hydro power projects in Indian Kashmir are in contravention of the Indus Water Treaty.

RH Desk
October 18

The World Bank has appointed a “neutral expert” and a chairman of the Court of Arbitration to the two power projects in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir in line with its responsibilities under the Indus Waters Treaty, a statement by the Bank issued from Washington said.

India and Pakistan disagree over whether the technical design features of these two hydroelectric plants- Kishenganga and Ratle power plants-contravene the Indus Water Treaty, which was signed in 1960 by the two south Asian nations.

According to a press release of the Bank Pakistan had called for the establishment of a “Court of Arbitration” to consider its concerns about the designs of the two power plants while India had asked for the “appointment of a Neutral Expert” to consider similar concerns over the two projects.

Michel Lino has been appointed as the neutral expert and Prof Sean Murphy has been appointed as chairman of the Court of Arbitration.

“They will carry out their duties in their individual capacity as subject matter experts and independently of any other appointments they may currently hold,” the statement added.

The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory. The IWT allocated the three eastern rivers – the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej – of the Indus basin to India, while 80% of the three western ones – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – was allotted to Pakistan. At the same time, the Treaty allows each country certain uses on the rivers allocated to the other.

The World Bank said that it continues to share the concerns of the parties that carrying out the two processes concurrently poses practical and legal challenges.

“The World Bank is confident that the highly qualified experts appointed as Neutral Expert and as members of the Court of Arbitration will engage in fair and careful consideration of their jurisdictional mandate, as they are empowered to do by the Treaty,” the statement said.

Kishanganga hydropower project is located on the Kishanganga River, a tributary of river Jhelum in northern Himalayan sate of Jammu & Kashmir. The project was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on May 19, 2018. The inauguration of the power project triggered protests by Pakistan.

The Ratle Hydroelectric Project is being constructed on Chenab river in Kishtwar District of Jammu region of Indian Kashmir.

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