Islamabad: Pakistan has sought support of the US on the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with India, as Secretary of State John Kerry called for an amicable settlement of the issue by New Delhi and Islamabad, media reported on Saturday.
The development came after Pakistan was irked by the World Bank pause in mediation to resolve differences over construction of two water projects by India.
The Express Tribune reported that Kerry made a phone call to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday night and discussed the row over the IWT implementation and the role of the World Bank (WB), which had brokered the treaty in 1960.
After Kerry’s call, US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale also met Dar in Islamabad at the Finance Ministry.
The back-to-back contacts highlight the importance of the water issue, which can potentially endanger regional stability if the situation slips out of control, according to sources at Finance Ministry.
“The US would like to see an amicable solution to this (water) issue,” a Finance Ministry statement quoted Kerry as saying.
Kerry told Dar that the WB president had informed him about Pakistan’s complaint against India on the IWT.
The water dispute has catapulted the US back into Pakistan’s economic picture.
The American civilian and military assistance to Pakistan has drastically come down in recent months and its implications on Pakistan’s fiscal situation have started emerging in the shape of a larger-than-anticipated budget deficit.
Independent analysts argue that Washington may not play an effective role in resolving the water dispute, as the Obama administration is preparing to hand over the White House to Donald Trump next month.
“Senator Dar indicated that the US support on the principles and legal position of Pakistan will be greatly appreciated,” stated the Finance Ministry.
Early this month, the WB had announced a pause in playing its legally binding role of mediator in the IWT implementation.
In October, Pakistan had approached the WB seeking appointment of the Chairman of Court of Arbitration to resolve a dispute over construction of two mega hydropower projects by India in violation of the IWT.
The Finance Minister told Kerry that the IWT was an international commitment and it was the WB’s responsibility to make sure India honoured the treaty and the water rights of hundreds of millions of Pakistani people were protected, said the finance ministry.
First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 13:03 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) has said that Indian cannot abolish the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, (IWT) unilaterally.Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told media on Thursday, “Pakistan was closely monitoring the situation and would duly respond when any such situation arose. However, Pakistan was actively pursuing the issue at all appropriate fora, asking for neutral arbitration of the issue.”The News further quoted him, as saying, “We will assess India’s activities within the framework of the Indus Waters Treaty. The Indus Basin Treaty cannot be altered or suspended unilaterally. No country can abrogate the treaty.”He pointed out, “There is an arbitration mechanism to resolve the dispute regarding implementation of the treaty. We resolved many IWT disputes amicably in the past.”He also made a mention of the Kashmir issue, and said that “Pakistan wants to amicably resolve all the outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India.”
Islamabad: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called Pakistani Finance Minster Ishaq Dar on phone to discuss the Pakistan-India water dispute, an official said on Tuesday.
The phone call on Monday was in relation with the latest dispute concerning two hydroelectric power plants — Kishanganga and Ratle — that India is building on the Indus river system, Dawn online reported.
Dar earlier wrote to Kim requesting him to help settle the water dispute between the two neighbouring nations.
He said that delaying arbitration would seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty which was signed in 1960.
The letter explained that Pakistan was not withdrawing its earlier request to the bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration and since this process had already been “inordinately delayed”, Islamabad wanted the bank to appoint the chairman as soon as possible.
Pakistan believes that further delay would hurt the country’s interests as India was working on completing the two projects. Dar said that once the projects are completed, it will be difficult to undo them.
The treaty distributed the Indus basin rivers between the two countries, giving India control over the three eastern rivers of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan has the three western rivers of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
The treaty empowers the World Bank to arbitrate any water dispute between India and Pakistan.
Last week, Kim in a letter to the Finance Ministers of India and Pakistan, said he had decided to “pause” the bank’s arbitration and urged the two neighbours to decide by the end of January how they wanted to settle the dispute.
Pakistan asked the bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration while India demanded the appointment of a neutral expert.
Kim said he was “pausing” arbitration to protect the Indus Waters Treaty, which has successfully resolved previous disputes between the two neighbours.
Tension over the water dispute intensified in November when Prime Minister Narendra Modi post the Uri attack which claimed the lives of 19 soldiers, said: “Blood and water cannot flow at the same time.”
First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 14:35 IST
Sun, 25 Dec 2016-09:08pm , Islamabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has asked the World Bank to “fulfil its obligations” regarding the Indus Water Treaty as it objected to the body pausing two concurrent processes related to Indo-Pak dispute over Kishenganga and Ratle project.Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a letter to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Treaty does not provide for a situation wherein a party can “pause” performance of its obligations under the accord. Dar said the World Bank’s decision to pause the process of empanelment of the Court of Arbitration will seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960. “It (the letter) strongly conveys that the matter of appointment of a Chairman of the Court of Arbitration has been inordinately delayed. It urged the World Bank to execute its obligations under the Indus Waters Treaty,” Radio Pakistan reported.Dar said the “pause” will merely prevent Pakistan from approaching a competent forum and having its grievances addressed. The letter is a response to Kim’s letter of December 12 in which he announced this pause to “protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants”.India had taken strong exception last month to the World Bank’s decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
India wants to use more water from rivers it shares with Pakistan as tensions deteriorate.
New Delhi: India on Thursday reiterated that the Indus Waters Treaty is a bilateral issue and technical questions and differences should be resolved bilaterally.
“India has always believed that the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty, which includes the redressal of the technical questions and differences, should be done bilaterally between India and Pakistan,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing.
“There are examples available where such matters had been successfully resolved bilaterally within the Permanent Indus Commission (such as the height of the freeboard for Kishan Ganga) or between the two governments as seen in the Salal Hydro Electric Project in 1978,” he said.
Earlier this week, the World Bank Group, which had brokered the 1960 treaty, announced a pause in the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.
According to a statement issued by the World Bank, the announcement temporarily halts the appointment of a neutral expert, as requested by India, and the chairman of the Court of Arbitration as requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues regarding the two power plants under construction by India along the Indus rivers system.
Following the 18 September cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers, New Delhi, which blamed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, said that it would consider revisiting the Indus Waters Treaty, under which India has control over three eastern rivers — Beas, Ravi and Sutlej — all flowing from Punjab and Pakistan, controls the western rivers of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flow from Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir has been demanding a review of the treaty as it robs the state of its rights to use the water of the rivers.
The current processes under the treaty concern the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydroelectric power plants, being built by India on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers respectively.
“Given the will to address these matters through the appropriate mechanisms provided for in the Indus Waters Treaty, there is no reason why the technical design parameters on which Pakistan has raised objections cannot be sorted out by professional, technical experts from both sides,” Swarup said.
“We had advised the World Bank not to rush for initiating two parallel processes simultaneously and hold more consultations,” he said.
“It is a matter of satisfaction that this point has now been recognised by the World Bank. We believe that these consultations should be given adequate time.”
The Indus Waters Treaty was seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict.
First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 19:17 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant development, the World Bank has paused the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.”We are announcing this pause to protect the Indus Waters Treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty and its application to two hydroelectric power plants,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.The pause was announced by Kim in letters to the finance ministers of India and Pakistan. It was also emphasised that the Bank was acting to safeguard the Treaty.Pausing the process for now, the Bank would hold off from appointing the Chairman for the Court of Arbitration or the Neutral Expert — appointments that had been expected on December 12 as earlier communicated by the Bank.India had taken strong exception last month to the World Bank’s decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.Surprised at the World Bank’s decision to appoint a Neutral Expert, as sought by the Indian government and at the same time establish a Court of Arbitration as wanted by Pakistan, India had said proceeding with both the steps simultaneously was “legally untenable”.Both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that could potentially endanger the Treaty, the Bank noted.”This is an opportunity for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable over time. I would hope that the two countries will come to an agreement by the end of January,” Kim said.The current processes under the treaty concern the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants. The power plants are being built by India on, respectively, the Kishenganga and Chenab Rivers.Neither of the two plants are being financed by the World Bank.The bank said the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, is seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict.In September, the World Bank, which had mediated the Indus Water Treaty, had said it was approached by India and Pakistan and it is “responding in its limited, procedural role as set out in the treaty”.”India and Pakistan have informed the World Bank that each has initiated proceedings pursuant to the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 and the World Bank Group is responding in its limited, procedural role as set out in the Treaty,” it had said.The Treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries.It also sets out a process for resolving so-called “questions”, “differences” and “disputes” that may arise between the parties.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The World Bank’s decision to hastily set up a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to settle disputes relating to two hydroelectric projects following Pakistan’s demand may raise serious questions on workability of Indus Water Treaty, government said today.Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said though there has been delay on India’s request to appoint a neutral expert to resolve differences on Kishenganga and Ratle projects “unreasonable and hasty” timelines were set on Pakistan’s call for appointing the CoA. Expressing unhappiness over the decision to set up the CoA, Singh replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said India had urged the World Bank to go for more consultations on the matter so that a “legally untenable” situation of two different mechanisms adjucating the same matter could be avoided.”The World Bank also offered on October 18 an extra-Treaty independent mediator for helping India and Pakistan choose from the aforementioned two modalities for dispute resolution,” he said.The Minister said the government has strongly protested to the bank on the developments and also conveyed its “grave concerns that these developments may raise serious questions regarding workability of the Indus Water Treaty(IWT).” Under the IWT, signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, the World Bank has a specific role of dispute resolution between the two countries.To a separate question, Singh said the civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan signed last month will come into force after completion of respective necessary internal procedures by the two countries.Replying to another query, he said the process of India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is expected to be completed by April 2017 as per Memorandum of Obligations of the bloc. Singh, while giving details about MEA’s expenditure on account of contribution to the UN organisations, said Rs 138 crore was paid in 2013-14 while the amount was Rs 157 crore and Rs 244 crore in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
India and Japan, at last, signed an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Both countries took several rounds of negotiations, which helped resolve several sticky issues. Though only limited information has been released by the two governments, a media briefing of the Indian foreign secretary made several issues clear.
The joint document signed by the two countries lays down a roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. “This would provide for the development of nuclear power projects in India and thus strengthening of energy security of the country. The present agreement would open up the door for collaboration between Indian and Japanese industries in our Civil Nuclear programme,” it says.
But cutting the deal wasn’t easy. There were several questions and concerns raised in the past that delayed the agreement. Some of those concerns remain afloat in both the countries, though they aren’t necessarily of the same nature.
Some in Japan argued that a nuclear agreement with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), will undermine the nuclear regime. The reality is that India received a clean exemption in the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 and the CTBT is in a coma. Instead, India has been extending a moratorium on its nuclear test, and this is far more relevant than merely signing a non-existent treaty. Besides, India has an impeccable record, and all of its nuclear cooperation agreements are accompanied by the relevant safeguard practices. So, there is no question of diversion of any item supplied for peaceful purposes to a military programme.
The point that a victim of the nuclear attack would find it difficult to sign a peaceful nuclear programme was intriguing. More so, the fact that idea came from a country, which is enjoying nuclear protective umbrella (and till the Fukushima Accident had used nuclear energy to generate about 30% of the country’s total electricity production), was definitely bizarre. Even the serious section of the Japanese policy making community found it non-serious and basically a deal-delaying ploy.
The argument that for a country that has stopped using nuclear energy and operating nuclear reactors, it is unethical to export them did have some merit. But the moment Japan started operating some of its reactors and decided to eventually operate its non-operational reactors and add a few more, even this ethical resistance evaporated. However, a section that opposes nuclear energy all over the world kept clinging to this argument.
Other than the ethical and non-proliferation concerns, there were some practical commercial concerns of the Japanese nuclear industry, a major driver for the India-Japan nuclear deal. As the Indian nuclear establishment was basically interested in Japanese technology, not in its reactors, Japanese industry did not find it commercially lucrative to enter into the Indian nuclear market.
It was only when India agreed to buy reactors that the Japanese nuclear industry started seriously working on the deal. Now, it will have to partner with one of the Indian operators like the Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited. A Japanese company, however, will still have less than 50 percent ownership in a nuclear venture. For a short period, Japanese industry also wanted a solution to the nuclear liability issue.
Moreover, Japanese officials wanted proper assurance regarding export control enforcement and outreach for the Indian companies receiving the Japanese goods. India has completely harmonised its export control system along the NSG guidelines and annexes. Besides, India increased its outreach activities for its companies. Some Japanese companies have also started giving export control training to employees of the Indian companies, which are receiving its goods.
In India, too, there were some concerns, and to a certain extent, they exist even now as the two governments have not provided details of the agreement. The India-US 123 agreement is a somewhat detailed document available in the public domain. However, the press briefing of the foreign secretary, Jai Shankar sought to clear the air after the signature ceremony. He informed that all the stages of India-US agreements for civil nuclear energy were compressed in one document for the India-Japan deal.
Implicitly, the foreign secretary conveyed that the template of the 123 agreement had been taken for drafting the India-Japan agreement. Administrative arrangements for India-Japan specific would be worked out later, although the technical annexure attached to the agreement may already have some of the arrangements. But the basic parameters of the agreement would not be different.
The termination clause, one of the concerns in India, exists in the agreement. As the Indian foreign secretary rightly pointed out, it exists in most of the agreements. So, is the concern in India, that in the event of a nuclear test, the deal will be nullified, true?
Theoretically, it is possible. A termination clause exists in the India-US 123 agreement as well, though a nuclear test is not explicitly mentioned. The agreement with the US has provisions for consultation between the two countries and remedial action for India in the case of a termination. The agreement with Japan is not radically different from that.
India will continue to have its right to conduct nuclear tests if the strategic environment changes dramatically and adversely affect India’s security. In such a situation, in reality, both the US and Japan may appreciate the Indian situation. India’s security interests are fast converging with both the countries. Quite importantly, by all the assessments, the next round of nuclear tests in the world will start either with the US or China. So, India may not have much difficulty in managing the situation after its own nuclear tests, which may follow after the tests of these countries.
Regarding reprocessing, too, seemingly, the India-Japan agreement has adopted the 123 model. Reprocessing will be done at a dedicated safeguarded site. In fact, India may help Japan in reprocessing its fuel which it sends outside. Moreover, India and Japan may in the future undertake joint research and development projects.
But still, one question emerges. Why did India focus so much on entering into an agreement with Japan when so many countries were willing to do business with it and have already signed agreements for the purpose? Actually, Japan is preferred because of its reliability and trustworthiness. It is not known for imposing additionalities. Second, its technology is considered more advanced than many of the countries active in global nuclear reactor commerce.
Third, important Japanese nuclear companies have bought stakes in the companies of some of the supplier countries. An agreement with Japan will solve the issue of taking a consent from Japan for doing business with the companies of those countries. Fourth, Japan is emerging as an important strategic partner of India in managing Asian affairs. Together the two countries may push the idea of Asiatom.
Fifth, Japan, a country with advanced technology but declining population, may provide both a base and an opportunity for the Indian scientific force. It could be a win-win situation for both the countries. It is indicated that both the countries may do some innovative work on safety and security, though other countries have the similar provision in their agreements with India.
In the future, the two countries have to consolidate what they have agreed, covered and gained so far. The deal will turn out mutually beneficially for both. India will get its much-needed electricity and technological partnership and Japan will get a market for its companies which are facing a tough situation for several years even before the Fukushima incidents. Really, the sky is the limit for India and Japan in the nuclear and other strategic sectors.
First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 19:44 IST
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha Subramanian Swamy on Friday has questioned the World Bank’s interference in the long standing Indus Water Dispute. “World Bank is just a cooperative bank in which all countries pay money and subscribe and on this basis it runs. They can facilitate an agreement as it is considered as an international bank but they can’t decide on any issue,” he said. “I think the Government of India needs to be supported for taking a tough stand,” he added.The World Bank on Friday asked India and Pakistan to ‘agree to mediation’ in order to settle on a mechanism for how the Indus Waters Treaty should be used to resolve issues regarding two dams under construction along the Indus river system.The World Bank’s move came as it told the two countries that it was responding to their separate proceedings initiated under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960.The World Bank held a draw of lots to determine who will appoint three umpires to sit on the Court of Arbitration that Pakistan has requested. The draw of lots was held at the World Bank headquarters.”The World Bank Group has a strictly procedural role under the Indus Waters Treaty and the treaty does not allow it to choose whether one procedure should take precedence over the other. This is why we drew the lots and proposed potential candidates for the Neutral Expert today,” senior vice president and World Bank group general counsel Anne-Marie Leroy said.It also sets out a process for resolving so-called ‘questions’, ‘differences’ and ‘disputes’ that may arise between the parties. The current proceedings under the treaty concern the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants. The power plants are being built by India on Kishenganga and Chenab Rivers.Neither of the two plants are being financed by the World Bank Group.
Washington: The World Bank on Friday asked India and Pakistan to “agree to mediation” in order to settle on a mechanism for how the Indus Waters Treaty should be used to resolve issues regarding two dams under construction along the Indus river system.
The World Bank’s move came as it told the two countries that it was responding to their separate proceedings initiated under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960.
Simultaneously, the World Bank held a draw of lots to determine who will appoint three umpires to sit on the Court of Arbitration that Pakistan has requested.
The draw of lots was held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington.
“The World Bank Group has a strictly procedural role under the Indus Waters Treaty and the treaty does not allow it to choose whether one procedure should take precedence over the other. This is why we drew the lots and proposed potential candidates for the Neutral Expert today,” said Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel Anne-Marie Leroy.
“What is clear, though, is that pursuing two concurrent processes under the treaty could make it unworkable over time and we therefore urge both parties to agree to mediation that the World Bank Group can help arrange.
“The two countries can also agree to suspend the two processes during the mediation process or at any time until the processes are concluded,” Leroy said.
The Bank said the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 is seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict.
The Bank is a signatory to the Treaty.
The Treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries.
It also sets out a process for resolving so-called “questions”, “differences” and “disputes” that may arise between the parties.
The current proceedings under the treaty concern the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants.
The power plants are being built by India on Kishenganga and Chenab Rivers.
Neither of the two plants are being financed by the World Bank Group.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Turkey on Friday remained non- committal about backing India’s bid for NSG membership, saying New Delhi should first build consensus in its favour in the 48-nation bloc.Turkey was one of the countries which, at the last NSG plenary in Seoul in June, had insisted on no exception to be made for India, a non-signatory to the NPT, while examining its bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group that regulates trade in atomic material.Despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”In terms of the nuclear disarmament issue, we are going to concur with the NSG and I think Indian government needs to convince the other countries (in the bloc). So, we are for a nuclear disarmed world.”I believe India needs to work on this issue in order to convince the other countries. We are ready to join the consensus if it is reached,” Turkey’s Minister for Development Lutfi Elvan told a press conference here. On free trade pact with India, the Minister said a working group has been set up to address the issue and it has drafted a report but India it yet to ratify it.”Once the Indian Government signs the report the process will be accelerated. We want the free trade agreement because Turkey is a part of the customs union and the free trade agreement will contribute to the economies of both countries,” Elvan said. The Minister said Turkey can act as a gateway for India to countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa.He said the two countries need to converge their economic potential to boost bilateral trade volume.”Right now the trade volume between the two countries amounts to USD 6 billion which is quite low considering the true potential of the countries,” he said. “It is not only the trade volume which we are aiming to realize between the two countries, but also I advise the businesses that they need to set up companies to be able to trade with and export to third countries,” Elvan said.Outlining areas for successful mutual cooperation, he said India could draw from Turkey’s experience in construction sector.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Bhopal jailbreak: Were the 8 SIMI undertrials armed? Govt & cops’ versions differGuns or vessels? The eight undertrials were killed eight hours after escaping from the Bhopal Central Jail. Govt, cops differ on whether they were armed or not. Read more.2. J&K: Pakistan violates ceasefire again; 2 civilians injured in Arnia sectorAn encounter between security forces and terrorists is underway in Ajar village. Read more.3. Leaked emails suggest DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile gave Clinton debate questions in advanceInterim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile had come under fire earlier this month for possibly having tipped off Clinton’s campaign about a CNN town-hall debate question. Read more.4. Ahead of NSA talks, India-China discuss NSG membershipChina has been vetoing India’s bid citing rules that no country outside the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can be given membership of the nuclear supplier club. Read more.5. Don’t want to provide more fodder: Farhan Akhtar…says Farhan Akhtar about his alleged affair with his Rock On!! 2 co-star Shraddha Kapoor. Read more.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistan on Thursday warned of “appropriate action” if India violates the Indus Water Treaty and said it is closely monitoring the situation, amid reports that New Delhi may revisit the key water sharing accord.”Appropriate action will be taken in line with the Treaty in case of any violation by India,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly briefing. Pakistan was keeping a close eye on the situation, Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying. Zakaria’ remarks come amid reports that India may review the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty.He said that India is making “desperate attempts” to divert attention from the “atrocities and human right violations” being committed in Kashmir. He said Pakistan is highlighting Indian brutalities in Kashmir at world fora and there has been “very substantive outcome” of these efforts but the international community remains concerned about the situation. Responding to a question, he claimed that India violated ceasefire on the Line of Control for more than 90 times this year.The notion of isolating Pakistan is “ridiculous”, Zakaria said, adding that India’s “negative attitude” has been exposed which is the biggest hurdle in the way of regional development and prosperity. He also termed the Indian treatment to the Pakistani artistes as “very disappointing and highly regrettable” as he deplored India’s decision to “use SAARC for its political ambition”, according to the report. Zakaria also referred to a media report quoting US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who described tensions between India and Pakistan as a “very, very hot tinderbox” and offered to be “the mediator or arbitrator”.Zakaria noted that though Pakistan does not comment on media reports usually, in this case it welcomed the mediation offer. “We continue to urge our American friends including those in the administration to play their due role in resolving bilateral issues between Pakistan and India, particularly the Kashmir dispute,” he said. “And definitely Pakistan has welcomed in the past also any role of mediation, we welcome such offers,” he added.
The UN’s highest court on Wednesday threw out an epic case brought by the tiny Marshall Islands against India and Pakistan for allegedly failing to halt the nuclear arms race.
Moments after rejecting the case against India, the 16-judge bench at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in separate decision ruled that the Pacific island nation’s David-versus-Goliath battle could not continue against Pakistan.
The archipelago is seeking to shine a fresh spotlight on the global threat of nuclear weapons.
But in a majority verdict by nine votes to seven “the court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India,” presiding judge Ronny Abraham said, and therefore the tribunal “cannot proceed to the merits of the case.”
The tribunal, set up to resolve rows between nations, found it lacked the jurisdiction in the case as there had been no prior recorded dispute or negotiations over the nuclear issue between the Marshall Islands and the nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan.
The tiny Pacific island nation was ground zero for a string of nuclear tests on its pristine atolls between 1946-58, carried out by the United States as the Cold War arms race gathered momentum.
Initially in 2014, Majuro accused nine countries of failing to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks to inhibit the spread of atomic bombs.
But the ICJ already failed to take up cases against the other countries — China, France, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the United States — as they have not recognised the court’s jurisdiction.
Israel has also never formally admitted to having nuclear weapons.
The Marshall Islands has maintained that by not stopping the nuclear arms race Britain, India and Pakistan continued to breach their obligations under the treaty — even if New Delhi and Islamabad have not signed the pact.
The treaty commits all nuclear weapon states “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”
Majuro is calling for nuclear powers to take “all necessary measures” to carry out what it considers to be their obligations under the treaty.
At a March hearing, Majuro’s lawyers painted a vivid picture of the horrors seen after 67 nuclear tests were carried out on Bikini and Enewetak atolls.
“Several islands in my country were vaporised and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years,” Tony deBrum, a former Marshall Islands foreign minister, told the court.
The so-called “Operation Castle” tests in March and April 1954 were particularly devastating and resulted in massive contamination because of the nuclear fall-out.
“The entire sky turned blood-red,” said deBrum, who witnessed the explosion of the largest-ever US-built nuclear device called “Castle Bravo” as a nine-year-old boy.
Critics have argued however that the ICJ action is a distraction and that the islanders’ real fight is with Washington, which carried out the tests in their backyard.
They contend that the case has no relation to the victims’ claims for increased compensation, better health care and clean-ups to render the sites habitable again.
Experts however say the islands hoped the three cases before the ICJ will thrust nuclear disarmament talks, which have stalled over the past two decades, back into the spotlight.
Even if the case has no direct impact, the Marshall Islands’ residents “perhaps feel that the more the difficulties with nuclear weapons are brought to the public consciousness, the better,” said Jens Iverson, assistant professor of Public International Law at Leiden University.
“They may hope that the world may become a safer place,” Iverson told AFP.
With inputs from AFP
In the wake of India’s newly re-imagined policy towards Pakistan — conducting precision strikes across the Line of Control (LoC), reviewing the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status tag, and organising high-level meets to discuss withdrawal from the Indus Waters Treaty — China has played its latest card by blocking a tributary of Brahmaputra to facilitate work on of its expensive hydropower projects in Tibet. Power has a lot to do with perception politics and perhaps China intends for this to just be a warning to India, the timing of such a move from China implies that it’s trying to corner India and showing its support for Pakistan.
On Friday, 30 September, Xinhua reported that Tibet blocked a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River as part of its most expensive hydro project. The 4.95-billion-yuan project ($740 million) can store up to 295 million cubic meters of water.
This is not too far-fetched a theory, considering that China is known to displays of aggression across the border when it is unhappy. An earlier Firstpost editorial also points out that such aggression is a part of the Chinese “blow-hot, blow cold” routine. In June this year, the Chinese termed it a “temporary transgression” when about 250 China’s Peoples Liberation Army soldiers entered Arunachal Pradesh’s east district of Kameng. These incursions are not new and in fact the trend has been rising over the last few years. According to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, in 2010, there were 228 incursions, 213 in 2011, 426 in 2012.
So how is blocking a tributary of the river in its own legal territory one such show of aggression?
The Brahamaputra originates in China (Yarlung Tsangpo) and flows through India and Bangladesh; a part of the river’s basin is also in Bhutan. The river basin covers close to 5,80,000 square kilometres through the four countries. The basin, most certainly poses a security concern for India, since both countries have fought over territories in which the river flows. Dam building activities, water diversion plans — with no bilateral or multilateral treaty on these waters — all actors in the issue have their own set of concerns.
In the Centre for Naval Analyses 2016 report titled Water Resource Competition in the Brahmaputra River Basin: China, India, and Bangladesh, authors Nilanthi Samaranayake, Satu Limaye, and Joel Wuthnow explain that China’s concerns stem from a fear Indian government’s “actual control” over Arunachal Pradesh (a state it has considered part of China and referred to as ‘Southern Tibet’) can be strengthened through dam-building activities. China’s interests can be inferred as political. However, India’s concerns with any activity upstream (ie in China) is both political and physical. While there is worry over Beijing’s claim to Arunachal Pradesh, probable water diversion or dam building activities in the upper riparian areas of the river could have large scale implications on the physical level
In 2013, India complained to China about its expensive hydropower projects announced in the Brahmaputra region citing ‘irreparable damage’ to the Indian basin and also the impact it would have on the physical land and surrounding regions. China didn’t budge, only assured that it wouldn’t have a negative impact.
In the ongoing scuffle between India and Pakistan — when both sides are unencumbered in their ways to smear the other as the enemy, China is at an advantage to pick a side. China has in the recent past also unequivocally expressed its support to Pakistan — “In case of any (foreign) aggression, our country will extend its full support to Pakistan,” consul-general of China in Lahore, Yu Boren is quoted as saying in a report published in Dawn. While it may look like China is just being a kind neighbour to Pakistan and supporting it in standing up to a bully like India, but if you look closer there is much more at play here — the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, for instance. H Jacob writes in a paper for the European Council on Foreign Relations, China, India, Pakistan and a Stable Regional Order, that China is “steadily increasing its influence in the region with its innovative ‘New Silk Road’ strategy, and by offering economic and development assistance to Pakistan.”
When the Prime Minister Narendra Modi raked up the Balochistan cause in his Independence Day speech, he also loosened the screws on any plans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. China is looking to gain something — by using Gwadar as another naval base (despite Pakistan and China assuring that it will be used only for economic reasons), China will have fresh access to the Indian Ocean (making it a two ocean power) and if the controversy surrounding South China Sea is anything to go by, India is right in being wary of China’s agenda. And China involves itself in the international arguments to further its own cause. So China’s reaction of closing the taps on the Brahmaputra shouldn’t be construed as its big-brotherly act towards Pakistan, considering that India threatened to abrogate the Indus Waters Treaty.
China is uniquely aware of Brahmaputra’s importance to lower riparian States like India and Bangladesh and as Brahma Chellaney writes in Coming Water Wars (in The Magazine of International Economic Policy):
“Upstream dams, barrages, canals, and irrigation systems can help fashion water into a political weapon that can be wielded overtly in a war, or subtly in peacetime to signal dissatisfaction with a co-riparian state.”
China is applying subtle pressure to let India know that the India-Pakistan equation is subject to the complex geopolitics of the South Asian region. The two nations should perhaps engage in cooperation and dialogue, like they did in the early 2000s after a major flood hit the North East of India. Sure, talking about a river that flows through contested territory is not easy, but better than escalation that neither country should attempt.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar on Friday said she was not in favour of India unilaterally scrapping the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. In the wake of terror attack on Army base at Uri, some strategic thinkers have demanded that India scrap the water-sharing treaty to pressurise Pakistan.”We are not in favour of breaking the Indus Water Treaty with the neighbouring country and launching a water war with it. We don’t want to turn rivers into a battle-field,” Patkar said.”Whether the issues related to sharing of water are international or inter-state, they should be solved through dialogue. These problems cannot be solved through politics,” she said. Patkar was in Indore to take part in a seminar on utility of large dams in India.”Government constructs large dams saying that they would produce hydro-power for supplying electricity to villages and provide water to the rural areas and agriculture. But in reality benefits go to the capitalists,” she said. She demanded a review of the policy which favours big dams and immediate stoppage of ongoing construction of such projects.”We are not saying that big dams are not useful for the country. But alternatives to them should be considered so that there is minimal displacement of people and least damage to the nature.” She also opposed centralised system of water management and said the decision-making should be left to the common people.
Pakistan on Thursday claimed that India has not shared any evidence about the assault on an Army camp in Uri town in Kashmir that left 18 Indian soldiers dead and accused India of blaming others for terror attacks.
Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan would wait for any investigation by India into the Uri attack. “I want to draw a distinction between evidence and information. What they have shared with us is just a piece of paper. In the previous incidents too, there has been exchange of papers. We are waiting for details to come,” he said. He said Pakistan cannot comment prior to independent investigation report of the Uri attack.
He alleged that India was desperate to divert attention from Kashmir and had demonstrated capability of staging terrorists attack on its soil and blaming it on others.
“We have seen time and again that India would blame another country for terrorist activity and somewhere down the line it would turn out to be the handiwork of its own security agencies. A glaring example of this is the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack in February 2007,” he said.
Zakaria said “unprovoked violations on the LoC by the Indian security forces” killed two Pakistani soldiers.
Commenting on the situation in Kashmir, he said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif effectively highlighted in the UN and apprised the world community about it. He said Pakistan will continue to raise the issue of Kashmir at the UN, OIC and all other international forums as also with the HR Organizations across the world.
The spokesperson said Pakistan remains committed to extending complete diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris’ movement for self-determination. He said Pakistan had learnt “India’s unfortunate decision of not attending the summit” and alleged that India has a track record of impeding the Saarc process.
He said that India’s negative attitude has had a direct bearing on the welfare and betterment in this region, “which is highly regrettable”.
To a question that India was isolating Pakistan, he said Pakistan cannot be isolated by mere statements of the Indian Prime Minister.
“Pakistan enjoys friendly and close relations with the comity of nations and Prime Minister of Pakistan’s engagements on the sidelines of the 71st UNGA session, China’s massive investments, joint exercises with Russia, visit of Iranian Naval ships, signing of mega project agreements with Central Asian States, Russia, China and International Financial Institutions make Indian claim a laughing stock,” he said.
Zakaria said Pakistan had not received any formal communication from India on Indus Waters treaty, which is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision.
“According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of the Article XII of the IWT, the Treaty cannot be altered or
revoked unilaterally,” he said.
Reacting to the reports that the Centre is in the process of reviewing the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that the treaty, while being beneficial to India and Pakistan, is not in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir.
“India and Pakistan can work together to revise the treaty and allow us to harness the rich water resources in the state. We can tell our country people that we should revise the IWT, but we can’t tell that to Pakistan. The two countries should work together for peace. If the two countries can share water, why not their other resources?” an emotional Mufti told a gathering in Srinagar.
Mufti said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Pakistan with the message of peace on behalf of people of Jammu and Kashmir, but the Pathankot attack shattered that process.
“Our party became the harbinger of peace when my father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spoke of nursing the wounds of people, when the memory of Kargil war was still afresh,” she said.
“In times of war, Mufti saheb urged India and Pakistan to get involved in talks and start a process of reconciliation. In 2002, we formed the government with Congress when NDA was ruling at the Centre. Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) understood Mufti saheb’s point of view which had ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity in the state,” she added.
After the PDP-BJP government’s failure to contain the violence in the state, Mufti appealed to the gathering to give her government a chance to run and pitched for a stronger relation between India and Pakistan to fight the economic stagnation plaguing the region. She also underlined the need of a bilateral dialogue to resolve the political issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Give us a chance, there are four and half years (left for her government). You did not give us time (to run a smooth government). Tell your kids (stone-pelters) to go home. Give opportunity to me and my government, PDP and BJP,” Mufti said.
“I have 80 holes in my heart (referring to deaths of over 80 youths in security force firing). Those kids, who should be playing, were instigated to attack police stations, Army camps. What do you think the reaction from the forces will be?” she asked.
Kashmir had been witnessing violence and unrest since 8 July — the day Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed. The violence that followed has left around 90 people dead and thousands injured. The government has employed strong-arm measures to restore order, but has so far failed to enforce its writ.
Mufti said the People’s Democratic Party, of which she is the president, entered into an alliance with the BJP to take forward the mission of restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “The Assembly was in session. There was an encounter in which three militants were killed. What wrong have I done? What is my fault?”, she asked.
Hitting out at the Opposition for targeting the coalition government, the chief minister said the same parties, who want to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir, sold their mandate in the past to remain in power.
“Those speaking against us used to talk in the language of war when they were in power. Mufti saheb knew that Modi has the mandate of the entire country, which was why we shook hands with the BJP. We have lost widows and orphans. How long are we going to fight with each other?” she said.
“We endured your hatred (for stitching alliance with BJP) and Modi came to power by winning a majority. If anybody can find a solution to the Kashmir issue, it is this government,” she said.
“If Muslims are safe anywhere in the world, it is in our country,” Mufti said.
The NDA government has upped the ante on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declared intention to isolate Pakistan by examining the Indus Waters Treaty and boycotting the Saarc Summit due to be held in Pakistan in November. It is also considering taking action against Pakistan for its failure to accord the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status to India. All these moves would hurt Pakistan and damage its image, but they may not be enough to force Pakistan to put an end to cross-border terrorism.
All three moves are among the non-military options that have been bandied about among the commentarati and avidly taken up by hawks demanding stern action against Pakistan. Each one of them has been loudly hailed for their anticipated effect on Islamabad. While each would have an impact on Pakistan, they also have other implications that would limit their use and impact.
Postponement of the Saarc Summit would be a blow for Pakistan, especially as three other Saarc members — Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan — have also conveyed their intention to stay away from the summit. Saarc summits have been postponed more than half a dozen times in the past. Some of the postponements have taken place as a result of strained ties between New Delhi and the host government. But this time Pakistan stands pilloried on the issue of terrorism as half the Saarc membership has declined to attend a summit. Summits require that leaders of all Saarc nations attend the annual gathering.
India conveyed to Nepal, the current Saarc chair, that “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country have created an atmosphere that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” according to the official statement. Bangladesh and Bhutan also cited the deterioration in regional peace and security due to terrorism for their absence. It has shaken the regional organisation as it is the first time that such an open rift has occurred within Saarc.
While the cancellation of the South Asian summit hurts Islamabad’s pride, the Indus Waters Treaty has a much greater impact on the Pakistani psyche. It impinges on Pakistan’s primordial fear of India cutting the supply of water in rivers flowing from India into Pakistan. The government has not talked of revoking the Indus Waters Treaty. Revocation of a treaty brokered by the World Bank and financially backed by six friendly countries has a host of implications.
The treaty was negotiated on the basis of a World Bank proposal for equitable division of the waters in the common rivers. The US, UK, Australia, West Germany, New Zealand and the World Bank provided the financial assistance for building dams and replacement canals in Pakistan and some irrigation works in India to divide the waters. Revoking a treaty would have legal consequences and would affect India’s image as a responsible emerging power. It would also send negative signals to India’s other neighbours regarding the sanctity of its bilateral agreements on sharing and utilising river waters. The government has instead set up an inter-ministerial task force to review its usage of water from the three western rivers that flow into Pakistan. It also put off the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission, a body comprising of India and Pakistani officials that reviews the implementation of the treaty.
Under the treaty, water from three western rivers were allocated to Pakistan while water from three eastern rivers were India’s share of the six common rivers. India was allowed water from the western rivers for limited amount for “domestic and non-consumptive use, for hydropower and agriculture”. However, India has not fully utilised its share of the western waters. Pakistan has raised objections to any Indian project on the western rivers even when the projects are either navigational or run-of-the river hydel plants that do not limit the water flow to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s agriculture-based economy is dependent on the waters of these three rivers. Some parts of Pakistan have faced water scarcity and Pakistani politicians and militant leaders have whipped up public opinion by accusing India of cutting down water flows. A Pakistani delegation is currently in Washington to talk to World Back officials on the Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower project on the Indian side of the Chenab and Jhelum rivers. If India picks up the pace to complete its river projects, it would reduce the water flowing into Pakistan. However, these projects are long gestation projects and there will not be an immediate impact on Pakistan except to raise public apprehensions.
On the economic front, revoking MNF status to Pakistan or enforcing economic sanctions would not have a significant effect on Pakistan. Indian exports would bear the brunt of the action as Indian exports to Pakistan far surpass Pakistani exports to India. Indian exports are US $2.2 billion while it imports $0.4 billion from Pakistan. The major part of trade between India and Pakistan is not direct trade, but is routed through third countries like Dubai. India gave MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 in accordance with the WTO rules, but Pakistan is still to reciprocate. India can approach the WTO dispute resolution mechanism on the issue. It would be another source of embarrassment for Islamabad.
Pakistan is a master of brinkmanship and can brush off minor embarrassments. The Indian government will need a much more sustained campaign to convince Islamabad that the damage being done to its image requires a change in its policies.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has approached the World Bank amid reports that India could revoke the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, with senior Pakistani officials taking up the matter with the international lender which had mediated the water-sharing deal.A delegation of the Government of Pakistan led by the Attorney General for Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, met with senior officials of the World Bank at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, to discuss matters relating to Pakistan’s recent Request for Arbitration given to India pursuant to Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, Geo News reported.The report also said Pakistan approached the International Court of Justice, but did not provide any details.On 19 August, Pakistan had formally requested India for settlement of outstanding disputes pertaining to India’s construction of Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants on rivers Neelum and Chenab respectively, by referring the matters to the Court of Arbitration as provided in Article IX of the Treaty.Under the treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishment of the Court of Arbitration by facilitating the process of appointment of three judges, called Umpires, to the Court, while each country appoints two arbitrators.The Pakistani officials met with senior officials of the World Bank to insist on early appointment of the judges and empanelment the court, it said.The Pakistani delegation consisted of Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali; Secretary, Ministry of Water & Power, Muhammad Younus Dagha; Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, Mirza Asif Baig and others, it said.Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani and World Bank’s Executive Director for Pakistan Nasir Khosa were also present.In the meeting with the Pakistani delegation, the World Bank committed itself to timely fulfilling its obligations under the treaty while remaining neutral, the report said.Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, waters of six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared between the two countries.The treaty provides specific design criteria for any hydro-electric power plants to be built by India. Pakistan has held the position the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants violate the design parameters of the treaty.Earlier, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Security, Sartaj Aziz said an attempt by India to block Pakistan’s water could be seen as “an act of war.” Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with officials to review provisions of the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan.In that meeting it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water-sharing pact.The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water-sharing deal to mount pressure on the country.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistan on Tuesday warned India that unilateral revocation of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty would be treated as an “act of war” saying it could also approach the UN and the International Court of Justice if the water-sharing pact is suspended.”It is the most successful water treaty ever conducted between two countries. Its revocation can be treated as an act of war or a hostile action against Pakistan,” the country’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz said here. Pakistan will also approach the UN and the International Court of Justice if India suspends the treaty, he said. He said Pakistan is considering drawing attention of the international community on the dangers of such an action if it is considered seriously.”The international law states that India cannot unilaterally separate itself from the treaty,” Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, said while briefing the National Assembly on the issue. He said unilateral revocation of the treaty can pose a threat to Pakistan and its economy warning that any interruption in the water flow would serve as an example to usurp the right of lower riparian states.He said that if India violates the treaty, Pakistan can approach the International Court of Justice. “This Indian act can be taken as breach of international peace and hence giving Pakistan a good reason to approach the UN Security Council,” Aziz said. He said the treaty was not suspended even during the Kargil and Siachen wars, adding even India could suffer if the flow of its rivers was disturbed by China.Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday chaired a review meeting of the Indus Water Treaty during which it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water-sharing pact. The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water-sharing deal to mount pressure on the country.Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, waters of six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared between the two countries.Pakistan has been complaining about not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in a couple of cases.China’s reaction: China today reacted guardedly to India’s decision to suspend talks with Pakistan under Indus Water Treaty, saying it hopes the two countries can “properly” address disputes and improve ties through dialogue and consultation.”As a friendly neighbour to both India and Pakistan, China hopes that India and Pakistan can properly address disputes and improve relations through dialogue and consultation, maintain and enhance all-round cooperation and join hands to promote regional peace, stability and development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told PTI in a written response.His response came to a question on India’s decision to hold the talks between Commissioners of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) only when the atmosphere was free from cross border terrorism.Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday chaired a review meeting of 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty during which it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact.The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on that country. Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum — were to be shared between the two countries.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Uri attack: India has given proof of Pakistan’s involvement to Abdul Basit, says MEAMEA Spokesperson, Vikas Swarup on Tuesday said that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar met with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and presented him proof of cross-border origins of Uri attack. In a series of tweets, Swarup revealed the identities of the two guides who helped infiltration and also the identity of one of the slain Uri attackers. Read more.2. Cauvery row: SC orders Karnataka govt to release 6000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for 3 days from todayThe Supreme Court has ordered Karnataka government to release 6000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu for three days from Tuesday. Karnataka has said in its plea that its reservoirs are dry and it can only release water to Tamil Nadu by the end of the year. Read more.3. PM Modi to review ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to Pakistan’; calls meeting on ThursdayAfter talking tough on Indus Waters Treaty, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting to review Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan. Read more.4. Will approach UN if India violates Indus Water Treaty: PakPakistan will approach the UN and the International Court of Justice if India suspends the 58-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, the country’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday, insisting the revocation of the treaty can be taken as an “act of war”. Read more. 5. If terrorism can be stopped by banning actors then they should do it: Varun DhawanMNS recently asked Pakistani artistes like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to leave India, failing which the shooting of their films would be stalled. Actor Varun Dhawan said that it is the government which should decide if terrorism can be stopped by such bans. Read more.
The village of Ningli, mainly inhabited by fishermen, along the Wular Lake in volatile town of Sopore in north Kashmir, is at peace these days. In April 2012, this fragile peace was broken by the thud of a falling bund, when militants allegedly lobbed a grenades at different construction site, where more than two hundred migrant labourers had been working for the construction of a bund- dredging and filling up empty cement bags and filling up one side of river Jhelum, which flows through India and Pakistan.
The spot where the bund was under construction is at the mouth of the Wular Lake — here, the Jammu and Kashmir government had started, decades ago, construction of a 439-feet-long and 40-feet-wide barrage at the mouth of the Lake to ensure flow of water during the winter.
“Whenever any effort of construction took place someone would come in the dead of the night and lob a grenade. It would make labourers scared and next day the construction would stop,” Abdul Majid Hajam, a fisherman and a resident of the area, told Firstpost.
The leftovers of construction material, an office for the government employs rusted machines and thousands of empty plastic bags are still lying near the proposed bund.
“It is cursed sight. There was lot of construction activity going on in 2012, but after the blasts it stopped. The tourism department wanted to build some thing for the flow of tourists but they couldn’t do it,” Hajam said.
Now, New Delhi is likely to review officially the 1987 suspension decision of the construction on the Tulbul navigation project. Pakistan had raised objection over the construction works on the navigation lock and the then Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government had suspended the work.
The Minister for Irrigation and Flood Control in Omar Abdullah government, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, said the construction after the 1987 suspension had nothing to do with the Navigation Lock.
“The government at that time was just trying to review Wular Lake to boost tourism in the area. I wish what Modi government is thinking we could do something on those lines, it will benefit the state, but this could also lead to a war between the tow countries,” Taj Mohi-ud-Din, told Firstpost.
New Delhi had in 2012 indicated seeking international arbitration under Indus Waters Treaty, after the failure of the 2012 round of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan over the controversial Tulbul Navigation Lock.
The Jammu and Kashmir government started implementing the project somewhere around 1984, apparently without taking Pakistan into confidence. As Islamabad came to know about the construction at Ningli, on the mouth of Wular Lake, it raised objections. Later, Pakistan’s water experts visited the site and engineers did whatever they could to conceal the happenings from the visiting officials from Islamabad. But in 1987, Jammu and Kashmir was asked to stop executing the project. Though the government did not discard the project, the rise of armed conflict in Kashmir later decimated it as the vested interests took away every piece of steel that was lying around the site and allegedly sold it in the open market.
Farooq Ahmad Shah, a retired chief engineer remembered that it was a beneficial project. The government had already booked an expenditure of Rs 20.15 crore when the work was stopped. Central Public Works Department (CPWD) was executing the project. As CPWD fled from Kashmir, it took the state government many years to shift out the staff it had posted on the site. By March 2005, the government said it had spent Rs 45.50 crore on the staff lying idle as the project costs spiraled to Rs 150 crore. Now it could be much higher.
Pakistan calls the project Wular Barrage and India sticks with the Tulbul Navigation Lock. The project, a 440 ft long structure, involved the construction of a lock on Jhelum with an avowed objective to increase the level of water in the river during lean season (late-October to mid-February).
The Jammu and Kashmir government says the project is aimed at managing water levels of the river in a better fashion during the lean season when the discharge recedes to a mere 2000 cusecs. Fall in the water level by almost one-half prevents routine navigation especially in the 20-km stretch from Wular to Baramulla via Sopore. For navigation a depth of four feet, flow of 4000 cusecs is needed besides an operational level of 5,177.90 ft in the Wular lake. The project, the engineers argue, would stabilise the water level between Khanabal in south Kashmir and Khadanyar in north Kashmir.
Experts say that the real benefit of the project will go to the energy sector because a better discharge during lean season will add to the unutilised capacities of the downstream project, the NHPC owned Uri-I and Uri-II and PDC-run Lower Jhelum.
The project has an interesting history. In 1912 Punjab government had approached Kashmir Durbar seeking permission to construct a major barrage on Wular Lake for helping irrigate parts of Punjab where Rabi crops were not getting enough water. The Durbar would get Rs 75000 every month as royalty but it was not agreed to.
Later in 1924, the Punjab government came with a renewed proposal offering a yearly royalty of Rs 1.85 lakhs. The princely state rejected the proposal again believing it might lead to water-logging in most of the north Kashmir especially Sopore and Baramulla.
In 1972 when the government initiated a proposal of reviving the age-old navigation in the Jhelum between Khanabal (Anantnag) and Khadanyar (Baramulla), a series of studies were undertaken. The result was the idea of constructing of a navigation lock that would ensure a better water level round the year. The government was toying with the idea of getting four small vessels of 75 tones each that would be pulled by a powerful tugboat.
The project was started at Tulbal. However, after Pakistan Indus Water Commission made a number of visits to the site, and suggested that the site be moved closer to WularWular so that the navigation lock would affect only a small portion of the neighbouring Sopore. It was finally shifted to Ningli, furlongs away from the spot where Jhelum leaves Wular. The project envisages making of 10-parallel waterways — a lock way, two overflow ways, six non-overflow ways and a fish ladder.
New Delhi maintains that regulating depletion of naturally stored waters for non-consumptive use of navigation is permissible under the Treaty and that there is no storage involved.
Islamabad says India cannot store water in excess of 0.01 million acre-feet (MAF). Its objections, however, stem from the apprehension that the lock may damage its triple-canal project linking Jhelum and Chenab with Upper Bari Doab canal and a fear that the stored water could be used as weapon by India during hostilities.
Engineers who have remained associated with the project insist that a constant flow during lean season would also help Pakistan in running its Mangla-dam-fed Hydel Power Project in Muzafarabad. “A host of Pakistani officers who were frequenting the site did admit the fact, however, they were apprehensive that India might use the project as a weapon by withholding the water or by simply adding more to the Jhelum especially during floods in order to create more problem in Pakistan”, said another officer, who was earlier associated with the project.
So far there have been more than 10 rounds of secretary-level talks on the issue, the last in March 2012. Besides, there were five specific meetings on this issue in 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 under the Composite Dialogue. But the two sides failed to agree on a way out.
New Delhi exhibited an interest in reviving the project in 2009 when various ministries were consulted. The process was apparently a follow up to the suggestions that the then water resources MinisterSaif ud Din Soz had made for its revival. In 2007, he has asserted that the project does not violate the treaty and a Japanese company was investing in the project.
Mon, 26 Sep 2016-01:12pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL seeking declaration of the India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty as unconstitutional.”There is no urgency in the matter. It will come up for hearing in due course,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar said.Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the PIL in his personal capacity on the issue, sought urgent hearing of the matter saying the treaty was unconstitutional as it was not signed as per the constitutional scheme and hence should be declared “void ab initio”.”Keep politics aside. The matter will come in due course,” the bench said when the lawyer insisted on an urgent hearing.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to ANI sources, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and senior officials will brief PM Modi on the Indus Water Treaty on Monday. PM will be discussing the pros and cons of taking action against Pakistan, and that reconsidering the details of Indus Water Treaty might be one of the possible moves to cause discomfort to Pakistan.The Indus Water Treaty was signed between Pandit Nehru and Pak president General Ayub Khan in 1960. The treaty has stood two full-scale wars and withdrawing the treaty has risks since it’s an international agreement and legally India can’t withdraw from it alone. The Indus originated in China, who haven’t signed any international treaties, and if it plays foul, then India could lose as much as much as 36% river water. Under the original agreement India has rights over three rivers that flow westward – Sutlej, Beas and Ravi – while Pakistan receives water from the other three – Jhelum, Chenab and Indus.There was no confirmation of the reports. The officials of the ministries of Water Resources and External Affairs denied any such knowledge of a meeting being convened by the Prime Minister. There have been consistent calls in India that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of audacious Uri terror attack earlier this week. Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six river – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared between the two countries.Pakistan has been complaining of not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in couple of cases. Former diplomat Rajiv Dogra told ANI: “Taking a step against Pak artists I’m not in favour of. As a State, individuals aren’t affected. Most Favoured Nation status to Pak should be withdrawn, our nationals should be advised its dangerous to go to Pak. Look at prisoner Ansari in Pak, he has finished his jail term and yet we aren’t allowed consular access to him. It will need a lot of effort and time if India wants Pakistan to be isolated. Indus Waters Treaty has a provision for revision. First we should ascertain the reality and the facts. Last week Pakistan Parl passed a irresolution asking for revision of Indus Waters Treaty. We will be fooling ourselves if we think we will any violate international law if we revise Indus Waters Treaty.”Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said a rethink was required on the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, as Pakistan has been consistent in not respecting it. The Indus Waters treaty has been an issue since its inception. Jammu and Kashmir believes that it is at a loss and the concessions given to Pakistan are more than it should have been given. It is a good thing that rethinking on this issue has been initiated by the central government and it conveys a positive message to Jammu and Kashmir,’ he said.The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing arrangement signed by former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and martial law administrator General Ayub Khan on September 19, 1960, in Karachi. It covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The agreement was brokered by the World Bank The agreement was signed because the source of all the rivers of the Indus Basin were in India (Indus and Sutlej, though, originate in China). It allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do’s and don’ts for India on building projects along the way. Singh also maintained that the Central Government is rethinking on the treaty which would send a positive message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The treaty gave the three “eastern rivers” of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to India for use of water without restriction. The three “western rivers” of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were allocated to Pakistan. India can construct storage facilities on “western rivers” of up to 3.6 million acre feet, which it has not done so far. India is also allowed agriculture use of 7 lakh acres above the irrigated cropped area as on April 1, 1960. Under the treaty, the waters of the eastern rivers have been allocated to India and New Delhi is under obligation to let the waters of the western rivers flow, except for certain consumptive use, with Pakistan getting 80% of the water. According to the United Nations, the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty has survived three wars and is a source of cooperation, not just conflict. ‘Pakistan should be declared terrorist state and all types of move should be performed to combat the situation,’ he added. With agency inputs
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Centre hinting at revising the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on Saturday said the state will fully support whatever decision is taken by the Union government on the 1960 agreement. “The treaty has caused huge loss to Jammu and Kashmir” as the people of the state cannot fully utilise the waters of various rivers, particularly Chenab in Jammu, for agricultural and other activities, Singh, who is in the city to attend the BJP National Council, said.”The state government will support whatever decision is taken by the central government on Indus Waters Treaty,” he said. The people of Jammu and Kashmir were already raising the issue of loss to the state on account of Indus Waters Treaty. If the central government takes any decision in this regard, the state government will definitely support it, he said. “We will support any move which will benefit the people of the state and any step that puts Pakistan under pressure,” Singh said.India had earlier this week made it clear that “mutual trust and cooperation” was important for such a treaty to work. The assertion came amid calls that the government should scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack. “It cannot be a one-sided affair,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said when asked if the government will rethink on the Indus Waters Treaty given the growing strain between the two countries.Singh also hit out at Pakistan for its “failure” to honour its agreements with India, particularly the Simla Agreement signed in 1972.”There is the Simla Agreement which Pakistan does not honour, there is Lahore declaration between the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then President of Pakistan General Parvez Musharraf in which it was agreed upon that Pakistan will not use its land under its occupation to be used for sponsoring, aiding and abetting terrorism against India. They do not honour this and instead are violating the declaration by sponsoring terrorism,” the BJP leader said. “If they can violate such agreements and declarations why should we honour such treaties…They want India to honour this treaty on the basis of it being an International treaty. This cannot go for a long. It is to be seen in totality,” he said.Singh said Pakistan was sending terrorists to create disorder in the Kashmir Valley but does not understand that terrorism will affect it more. “Pakistan does not understand that terrorism, which it sponsors, will ultimately affect it more. The country will not be able to keep itself united…We will expose the terror outfits in PoK,” he said.On the unrest in Kashmir, he said normalcy was returning to the state and the central and state governments were taking all steps to restore peace. “The situation is under control now. Pakistan is directly sending terrorists and its people to Jammu and Kashmir to create disorder,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ticking water bomb, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah maintained that the 1960 Indus Water Treaty would survive despite the war cry.”Will stick my neck out & say that nothing will happen to the Indus Water Treaty. It survived 4 wars & a J&K assembly unanimous resolution”, Omar tweeted.Omar noted that the Jammu and Kashmir has suffered but the government is not going to scrap the treaty. “It was an abomination & should never have gone through. J&K has suffered long on its account but this government isn’t going to scrap it”, he said.It was Omar who as chief minister in 2102 had decided to engage a consultant to assess the losses suffered by the state on account of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India with Pakistan.The consultant was to prepare the report about the exact quantum of losses suffered by J&K since 1960 which would be then submitted to the centre seeking compensation for the state.Under the 1960 Treaty, India has forfeited the claim to use and store the waters of three rivers- Jhelum, Chenab and Indus –flowing from Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan in exchange of three rivers – Satluj, Beas and Ravi.The treaty prevents the storage of the water of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers otherwise owned by the state Mainstream political parties cutting across the party lines have been calling the IWT discriminatory to Jammu and Kashmir.and demanding compensation for the losses since the state cannot store and use its own waters because it would be treated as violation of the treaty by Pakistan.”I was the first to move a resolution in the Legislative Assembly seeking compensation for the losses suffered due to the IWT. I did not want scarpping IWT but I wanted two things — adequate compensation for the losses and participatory status in the Northern Grid for Jammu and Kashmir”, Mohommad Yousuf Tarigami, state secretary of CPIM and MLA of Kulgam, told dna.Taj Mohidin, former J&K Minister for Irrigation and Public Health Engineering, said calls for scrapping the IWT is “absurd” given the complexities of the international treaties.”The international treaties between two sovereign countries cannot be scrapped. What can we do to these rivers? If we stop the water then Kashmir will become Satisar. We do not have dams. If we will divert the water to Wullar, it will get filled in eight days. Chenab is the only river which can be divert. If we divert its water, it will cost us Rs one lakh crore and take 20 years”, he told dna.Pakistan had objected to 450 megawatt Baghilar power project on Chenab river which went to World bank arbitration. World back later appointed Raymond Lafatte as arbitrator to resolve the differences.Lafatte cleared the project after recommending some minor adjustments to address the Pakistan’s concern. Pakistan later objected to 330 megawatt Kishanganga power project in Gurez area of Bandipora district in north Kashmir calling it violation of the IWT.
With the terror attack and death of 18 Indian soldiers in Uri on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is facing its first major crisis. Public anger has reached a fever pitch with people demanding immediate retaliation. The 24×7 television channels are in the forefront of war mongering with retired officials, BJP leaders and those belonging to the larger Sangh Parivar family, thundering vengeance on various channels. One worthy predicted that Pakistan would not be in a position to celebrate its next independence day.
This kind of rhetoric helps no one and can only boomerang on the hard line support base of the Sangh Parivar by raising unrealistic expectations. Prime Minister Modi who had railed against his Congress predecessor is finding out that once in the hot seat, there are no easy options. In fact, retaliation can be the easy way out, but the cost could be high. The BJP is caught up in its past rhetoric and the need to reassure its supporters that the government at the Centre will not allow Pakistan to continue its terror attacks with impunity.
No knee-jerk reaction, no frozen ties
So far Prime Minister Modi has not gone in for a “Knee-jerk reaction”, former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said. “As the government has announced India’s response will be calibrated, at a time and place of its choosing. This is the right approach,” he said.
He waved off the possibility of war but said: “We are in a phase of frozen relations with Pakistan. Talks now are completely out. Terror will be the one point agenda if talks are held in future. Without sorting this out talking is useless. At the same time, there will be a no-holds-barred promotion of the Baloch cause as well as Gilgit and Baltistan, to tell Pakistan that it is not a one way street.”
Put your house in order
Thundering statements at the UNGA may win brownie points with the domestic audience but does not help to solve problems. Knowing full well that terror attacks continue to be launched from Pakistan, India should have by now ensured that its defences cannot be so easily breached. If the proper security protocol is followed terrorists would not so easily gain entry to the Uri camp or a front line air force base in Pathankot, or even the police station in Gurdaspur, leave alone several others down the years. Speeches in the UNGA, or briefing the international community about Pakistan’s perfidy is all very well. But India has to be responsible for its own security and make sure that its defence installations remain watertight. After major terror attacks, like Mumbai strike of 2008 and Parliament attack of 2001, much soul-searching is done and promises made to plug the loopholes. Yet we continue to remain vulnerable.
“The fact, that at a time when Kashmir is on the boil and India knows well that Pakistan is fuelling the fire, the army camp in Uri, in fact all defence installations in the state should have taken the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, we keep repeating our mistakes and expose our own vulnerability,” former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said.
If the proper security drill was put in place, the terrorists could have been killed before inflicting such heavy casualties on the Indian army. terror strikes which could have easily been avoided.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that lapses as in Uri would never be allowed to happen again.
Prime Minister Modi has to keep in mind the cost and risk involved in whatever action he is contemplating. India’s most important strategic goal at the moment is uninterrupted economic development, providing jobs to millions of young people and infrastructure development. A war will divert much-needed resources and there will be an economic price to pay.
Immediate retaliation would have mean playing into the hands of the Pakistan Army and its spy agency the Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI). The government has denied a web magazine report that Indian forces had crossed over the Line of Control in Uri and killed 20 terrorists at a camp across the border.
The terror strike was to provoke action from India, ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address at the UNGA, to bring the Kashmir to the top of international consciousness. After the Uri terror attack, Pakistan’s chances of putting India on the mat on Kashmir receded. In fact, Pakistan’s image as a state which encourages terror has been reinforced over the last two decades. While at one time, New Delhi had found it difficult to convince the US and its allies about Pakistan’s sponsoring terror groups, after Afghanistan, when the West got a first-hand experience of the Pakistani Army’s dubious deals with terror, no one needs much conviction. China, Pakistan’s long-term ally will be the only one of the five UN Security Council members who will go out on a limb for Pakistan. It has already done so when Beijing found technical grounds to hold up Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar’s name from the UN terror list, which India had moved.
Options for India
A quick strike inside Pakistan territory to send the message that Pakistan cannot keep bleeding India without paying a price. Not that the Pakistan Army is not prepared for such an eventuality. Reports that leave of the Pakistani rangers who are posted along the border have been cancelled, that Pakistan airlines flights to PoK have been stopped, is an indication that the army is well prepared for any eventuality. Another war between two nuclear-armed neighbours would alarm the world and the US and its allies would get busy trying to make peace.
Covert operations at an appropriate time are also being mulled. But this will mean not declaring it from the roof top and the public mood being as it is at the moment, the government would like to show the public what it has done. This is one reason that a covert operation may not be the PM’s choice at least for now.
MFN status and the Indus Waters Treaty
There is a talk of removing the Most Favoured Nation Status that was given to Pakistan by India in 2012 in keeping with its WTO and Saarc obligations. But as overland trade with Pakistan is at best minimal, just over two billion dollars, and mostly in India’s favour, it will have little significance. Trade through third countries is more robust and will not be affected.
Talk of revoking the India Waters Treaty is foolish, which has continued despite three wars between the two neighbours. Any attempt to block water will play out badly in the international community.
India’s priority is ramping up its own internal procedures to make it difficult for the terrorists to breach perimeter walls of sensitive installations.
Former Jammu and Kashmir state water resource minister and senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin on Friday said that there is a possibility of a war breaking out between India and Pakistan, if India violates the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) between the two neighbouring countries.
Earlier, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said, “It cannot be a one-sided affair,” when asked about a possible rethink over the treaty. He also said that it was based on “goodwill”.
In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Mohiuddin said that the treaty between India and Pakistan, which was brokered by the World Bank in 1960, is being monitored and guaranteed by the international financial institution, and stopping water to Pakistan will mean a conventional war between the two countries.
Though people in Jammu and Kashmir will benefit by such a move, if the Indian government decides to abrogate the treaty, but the question, he said is “what will we do with these river? If we try to divert this water, Kashmir will become a satisar (waters all around) and even in that case, the excess water will go to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”.
In 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir government had engaged the services of an international consultancy to assess the losses suffered by the state on account of the treaty. Once the report was ready, the then Omar Abdullah government, of which Mohiuddin was a minister, had decided to seek compensation from the Centre.
“No one knows the exact figures of the losses we had incurred because of the treaty. It ranges between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 80,000 crore, which is why the state employed the services of the consultancy,” Abdullah had said then.
On Friday, howerver, Abdullah tweeted, “Will stick my neck out & say that nothing will happen to the Indus Water Treaty. It survived 4 wars & a J&K assembly unanimous resolution.”
In another tweet he said, “It was an abomination & should never have gone through. J&K has suffered long on its account but this government isn’t going to scrap it.”
“This is impossible. It is a childish statement,” Mohiuddin told Firstpost. “Diverting a river would take at least 20 years. The waters of Chenab can go up to Rajasthan, but when we try to this, do you think our neighbouring country will stay silent?”
“You can’t divert the waters of these rivers – Jhelum, Chenab, Neelum — and we don’t have the authority to generate electricity and store waters of the rivers,” he said.
“Our projects are run of the river. We could have still generated 10,000 megawatts of electricity,” Mohiuddin said.
New Delhi gave up its claim on the water of three rivers — Jhelum, Chenab and Indus — (all flowing from Jammu and Kashmir) to Pakistan in lieu of three eastern rivers — Satluj, Beas and Ravi — under the treaty.
Although these rivers flow through the state, the treaty prevents the storage of water otherwise owned by the state, which is why the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had moved a resolution seeking compensation for the losses.
New Delhi: With India saying that there have been differences over the implementation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, a dispute that was referred to an international tribunal under the aegis of the World Bank, the issue has come back into focus because of the current tension with Pakistan following the 18 September cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. On Thursday, India raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a “one-sided affair”.
So, what is the treaty all about? Here is a primer:
What is the Indus Waters Treaty?
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing arrangement signed by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan on 19 September, 1960, in Karachi. It covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The agreement was brokered by the World Bank.
Why was the agreement signed?
The agreement was signed because the source of all the rivers of the Indus basin were in India (Indus and Sutlej, though, originate in China). It allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do’s and don’ts for India on building projects along the way. Pakistan feared that India could potentially create droughts in case of a war between the two countries. A Permanent Indus Commission set up in this connection has gone through three wars between the two countries without disruption and provides a bilateral mechanism for consultation and conflict-resolution through inspections, exchange of data and visits.
What does the agreement entail?
The treaty gave the three “eastern rivers” of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to India for use of water without restriction. The three “western rivers” of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were allocated to Pakistan. India can construct storage facilities on “western rivers” of up to 3.6 million acre feet, which it has not done so far. India is also allowed agriculture use of 7 lakh acres above the irrigated cropped area as on 1 April, 1960.
Is there a dispute?
Although the two countries have been managing to share the waters without major dispute, experts say that the agreement is one of the most lop-sided with India being allowed to use only 20 percent of the six-river Indus water system. Pakistan itself in July this year sought an international arbitration if India sought to build hydro power projects on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Though the agreement has been seen as one of the most successful water-sharing pacts, the current tension between the two South Asian neighbours might well lead to a flashpoint. Strategic affairs and security experts say that future wars could well be fought over water.
Could India abrogate the agreement?
This is unlikely since the treaty has survived three wars between the two countries. Although on Thursday India raised the issue, saying that for a treaty to work there had to be “mutual cooperation and trust” between the two sides, this seems to be more pressure tactics than any real threat to review the bilateral agreement. And the idea that India can intimidate Pakistan by threatening to cut of river waters is nothing new. It has arisen before every major conflict. A unilateral abrogation would also attract criticism from world powers, as this is one arrangement which has stood the test of time.
Short of abrogation, can India do something?
Some experts have said that if India starts making provision for storage facility involving the “western rivers”, which it is allowed under the treaty of up to 3.6 million acre feet, this may send a strong message to its neighbour. Pakistan has often sought arbitration proceedings just on mere impression that India may do so, seeking to dissuade its larger neighbour from tinkering with the status quo.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as India raised the ante further, signaling threat to abrogate the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the two main political formations – the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress – came out all guns blazing against Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), questioning the neighbouring country’s “complete denial” of the terror emanating from its soil. At the United Nations as well, Afghanistan joined India to squeeze Islamabad, with its vice-president Sarwar Danesh blaming the country for training, equipping and financing of terror groups like Taliban and Haqqani network.Under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) – brokered by the World Bank and signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Nehru and Pakistan president Ayub Khan – six north Indian rivers were divided between the two countries.Despite being a lower riparian state, Pakistan has been granted exclusive rights of three Kashmir rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chinab, in lieu of India controlling three eastern rivers, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, all flowing from Punjab.These rivers irrigate Pakistan’s food bowl in East Punjab and Sindh provinces. The treaty, which braved two full-fledged wars of 1965 and 1971 and a limited Kargil war of 1999, has come under cloud with External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup putting a question mark over its continuity. “There are differences over the treaty. For any such treaty to work, it is important that there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It can’t be a one-sided affair,” he said. Over the years, many analysts have been recommending review of this treaty in view of Pakistan’s hostility towards India and more so because these three rivers are lifeline for southern Punjab regions, nursery of terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).”If Pakistan wishes to preserve the Indus treaty, despite its diminishing returns for India, it will have to strike a balance between its right to keep utilising the bulk of the river system’s waters and a corresponding obligation (enshrined in international law) not to cause palpable harm to its co-riparian state by exporting terror,” said noted analyst Brahma Chellaney. But another group of experts believe that International Tribunal will soon intervene to restore this treaty and also there is no way to lock or use water of these three rivers in Kashmir and they cannot be linked to any other river with mighty Pir Panchal mountains insulating them from rest of the country.India also on Thursday expressed diplomatic victory in noting that Pakistan Prime Minister got no support from the international community in his address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) previous night as none of the 50 countries that spoke referred to the issues on which he had devoted 80% of his speech. Swarup said the UN Secretary General even did not mention a dossier reportedly handed over to him by Nawaz and instead made it clear that he would not intervene in the Kashmir issue that he wants resolved bilaterally.SAARC SUMMIT: Swarup also kept up the suspense on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will boycott the 19th SAARC summit to be held on November 9 and 10 at Islamabad and Murree. “Every question does not have yes or no answer,” he quipped.On India itself declaring Pakistan a “terror state”, Swarup said it requires internal legislative processes. He also rejected the idea of India breaking diplomatic ties with Pakistan. He referred to the demarche issued on Wednesday by the foreign secretary to Pakistan High Commissioner and said no such diplomatic protest could be issued if there are no diplomatic relations.Meanwhile, both BJP and Congress warned Pakistan for meddling in India’s internal affairs by raking up the Kashmir issue. Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi attacked Sharif for attacking terrorism with a self-denial of the terror unleashed by his country. “Pakistan doesn’t realise that when they speak like this they are making a joke out of themselves,” he said, asserting that Pakistan is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world.
Under the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960, Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Khelum were to be shared between India and Pakistan. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty on Thursday cropped up in the current hostile Indo-Pak discourse with India making it clear that “mutual trust and cooperation” was important for such a treaty to work. The assertion came amid calls in India that government should scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of the audacious Uri terror attack earlier this week.”For any such treaty to work, its important that there must be mutual cooperation and trust between both the sides. It cannot be a one-sided affair,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson said cryptically when asked if the government will rethink on the Treaty given the growing strain between the two countries. He also noted that the preamble of the Treaty itself said it was based on “goodwill”.Pressed further if India will scrap the Treaty, he refused to elaborate and only noted that in diplomacy everything was not spelled out and that he has not said that the treaty was not working.Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six river – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared between the two countries.Pakistan has been complaining of not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in couple of cases. Swarup also noted that there were differences over the implementation of the treaty between the two countries.
A US Senator has praised the NSG for deciding against granting India membership of the grouping immediately, hours after the elite group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition. “Today, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) reaffirmed its strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by refraining from admitting India,” Junior Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Edward Markey said in a statement.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NSG was founded in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test and it has worked for decades to prevent the sharing of technology that could contribute to the further spread of nuclear weapons, he said yesterday. “If India joined the Nuclear Supplier Group, it would be the only participating government in the organisation that was not a party to the NPT, weakening the NSG’s commitment to the treaty. By refraining from admitting India, the NSG strengthened both the treaty and the broader global nonproliferation regime,” Markey, a known India-basher, said.As a member of the US House of Representative, Markey has unsuccessfully led effort to block passage of civil nuclear deal between India and the US. Last month during a Congressional hearing, Markey had opposed India’s NSG membership application. The NSG yesterday ended its plenary meeting in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership. “The NSG plenary in Seoul earlier in the day decided against granting India membership of the grouping immediately and said it will continue to have discussions on participation of countries which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said yesterday.China, which had made no secret of its opposition, succeeded in scuttling India’s bid despite a significant majority backing the Indian case. Thirty-eight countries supported India, according to Indian officials.
The end of two-day plenary in Seoul on Friday led to an inconclusive stand on India’s fate in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. China put a firm foot on India’s membership in NSG stating that the application cannot be considered because it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The statement by the 48-nation grouping, however, said that it will continue to have discussions on participation of countries which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirty-eight countries supported India, according to Indian officials.Though, India had strong backing from majority countries in the nuclear trading group, including the US, the UK and France, the opposition hampered India’s inclusion in the group. Earlier too, the chief Chinese negotiator, Wang Qun had vehemently opposed India’s membership of NSG. Here are Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup’s comments on the NSG Plenary meeting:”The NSG concluded its Plenary meeting in Seoul on Friday. India was not of course in the room. But we understand from our friends and well-wishers that discussions on expansion of membership, or what is called “Participation” in NSG, were certainly not hypothetical.
ALSO READ India remains upbeat despite NSG block, calls for ‘early decision’ on its applicationIndia made its application for membership on May 12th, reflecting the progress in its engagement with the NSG. As you may recall, we began this engagement in 2004. A decision on civil nuclear cooperation with India was adopted by consensus by the NSG in September 2008. Subsequent to that, regular discussions with NSG have taken place. The point to note is that this is not a new subject. In fact, it is one that has been discussed within the NSG at every Plenary since 2011. Our application has acquired an immediacy in view of India’s INDC envisaging 40% non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030. An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement.
ALSO READ PM Modi has ‘failed’ on foreign policy front: Kejriwal on NSG issueWe understand that despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country, a three-hour long discussion took place last night on the issue of future participation in the NSG. An overwhelming number of those who took the floor supported India’s membership and appraised India’s application positively. We thank each and every one of them. It is also our understanding that the broad sentiment was to take this matter forward. It has been suggested that India’s participation in the NSG requires it to join the NPT. Our stand on the NPT is well known. But let me underline that in September 2008, the NSG itself addressed this issue. Paragraph 1 (a) of the September 2008 decision states that the decision on India contributes to the “widest possible implementation of the provisions and objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”. There is thus no contradiction between the NPT and India’s closer engagement with the NSG.
ALSO READ NSG indicates no exception will be made in the case of IndiaIt is also our understanding that most countries want an early decision. A few countries raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG. It is self-evident that process issues would not arise if these countries were actually opposed to our participation. This is corroborated by our own bilateral engagement with each of these countries. India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest. India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure. It would advance energy security and make a difference to combating climate change. We are confident that the NSG will recognise these benefits as it deliberates further on this issue.”
Following the conclusion of the annual plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) held at Seoul (23-24 June) reports started pouring in that no significant movement was made on India’s membership application. However, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) in a press release, issued on Friday said that “discussions on expansion of membership, or what is called ‘participation’ in NSG, were certainly not hypothetical.” According to the statement issued by the MEA, India made its application for membership on 12 May, “reflecting the progress in its engagement with the NSG”
Getting into the history of India’ bid for the NSG membership, MEA statement said that the “engagement” began in 2004. “A decision on civil nuclear cooperation with India was adopted by consensus by the NSG in September 2008.
Subsequent to that, regular discussions with NSG have taken place. The point to note is that this is not a new subject. In fact, it is one that has been discussed within the NSG at every Plenary since 2011”, read the MEA statement.
According to the MEA, India’s application acquired immediacy in view of India’s INDC envisaging 40% non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030 and an early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed India to move forward on the Paris Agreement.
In an apparent hint to China’s opposition, the MEA in the statement said that “despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country, a three-hour long discussion took place last night on the issue of future participation in the NSG”.
The MEA also added that notwithstanding the opposition from “one country” India received support from “overwhelming number of those who took the floor” which reflected the “the broad sentiment to take this matter forward”.
Commenting upon the fact that India is not a signatory to NPT, which is seemingly a major roadblock in India’s entry to the elite club, the statement read, “It has been suggested that India’s participation in the NSG requires it to join the NPT. Our stand on the NPT is well known. But let me underline that in September 2008, the NSG itself addressed this issue”.
It adds, “Paragraph 1 (a) of the September 2008 decision states that the decision on India contributes to the “widest possible implementation of the provisions and objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”. There is thus no contradiction between the NPT and India’s closer engagement with the NSG”.
Talking about the positive outcomes of India’s entry into NSG, the MEA in the statement said that India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest and India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure. “It would advance energy security and make a difference to combating climate change. We are confident that the NSG will recognize these benefits as it deliberates further on this issue”, reads the statement.
The MEA further stated that India feels most countries want an early decision and few countries raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG. “It is self-evident that process issues would not arise if these countries were actually opposed to our participation. This is corroborated by our own bilateral engagement with each of these countries”, reads the statement.
Acknowledging that India is “inching closer” to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Chinese official media on Thursday said if New Delhi is admitted into the elite grouping, “nuclear balance” between India and Pakistan will be broken.Stating that India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will “shake strategic balance in South Asia and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region”, an article in the state-run ‘Global Times’ however said China could support India’s inclusion in the 48 member nuclear club if it “played by rules”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Written by Fu Xiaoqiang research fellow with the state-run think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, the article a second in as many days by the same daily highlights China’s strident and vocal opposition to India’s entry into NSG and concerns that its all weather ally Pakistan will be left behind because “entry into the NSG will make it (India) a ‘legitimate nuclear power’.” “New Delhi seems to have inched closer to NSG membership after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gained backing from the US, Swiss and Mexico in its bid to join the elite nuclear club earlier this month,” the article said mentioning for the first time India’s progress in getting support from Mexico and Switzerland. “Becoming a member of the NSG, a bloc that governs civilian nuclear trade worldwide, will grant India global acceptance as a legitimate nuclear power,” said the article titled “Beijing could support India’s NSG accession path if it plays by rules”.A commentary in the same daily on June 14 had said that India’s admission into NSG would “jeopardise” China’s national interest and touch a “raw nerve” in Pakistan. “If it joins the group, New Delhi will be able to import civilian nuclear technology and fuels from the international market more conveniently, while saving its domestic nuclear materials for military use,” said the article in the Global Times, a tabloid daily which is part of the ruling Communist Party of China group of publications headed by People’s Daily.”The major goal for India’s NSG ambition is to obtain an edge over Islamabad in nuclear capabilities. Once New Delhi gets the membership first, the nuclear balance between India and Pakistan will be broken,” it said.”As a result, Pakistan’s strategic interests will be threatened, which will in turn shake the strategic balance in South Asia, and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region,” it said.The reason why India has scored a big win in garnering support for its NSG membership from some countries is because Washington has started to treat New Delhi as part of the US alliance, the write-up said. “It was only several years ago that Modi could not even get a US visa, but now he has visited the US more often than any other country during his two years in office,” it said.The US recognised New Delhi as a “major defence partner” during Modi’s recent visit, meaning that the White House has given India the treatment as a US military ally, it said. The article said that over the years, the US has been “bending the rules” to back India’s nuclear projects.”Against the backdrop of Washington’s accelerated pace of promoting its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it will be highly likely to keep supporting New Delhi’s nuclear ambitions, in order to make it a stronger power to contain China,” it said. The attitude of the US has had and will undoubtedly have an impact on some other nations. For those countries which also wish to put a finger in the pie of India’s market, many of them begin to back India’s NSG membership, or at least not oppose it, the article said in apparent reference to majority of the countries in the NSG supporting India’s entry.”However, as a country that has signed neither the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), India is not yet qualified for accession into the NSG,” it said.”That’s why the bloc is still divided over the case, and countries including New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria have expressed their firm objections to India’s membership,” it said.The article made no mention of problems faced by Pakistan in getting into the NSG due to its past record of proliferating the nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea, where as India is seeking entry into group based on clean non-proliferation record.”As a crucial defender of the international system against nuclear proliferation, China does not wish to see the political and legal foundation of global nuclear security to be challenged by any party who does not abide by rules,” the article said without referring to Beijing’s own nuclear power cooperation with Islamabad in supplying a number of nuclear reactors, including two 1100 mw reactors currently under construction in Karachi.”For those countries that are developing nuclear technology without the acceptance of the international community, perhaps counting them into the non-proliferation mechanism will better safeguard nuclear security,” it said.But at the same the article said China backs India’s entry if a fair and just principle is worked out through consensus.”Yet before that, a fair and just principle must be made through common consensus of all current members of the NSG, rather than the US and India’s reckless pushing at the cost of rule-breaking”.”So far, all NSG members have signed the NPT. So the question is, if any non-signatory of the treaty wants to join the group, under what condition can it be accepted? If such a standard is to be made one day, then it will be possible for both India and Pakistan to become part of the group,” it said.”Beijing welcomes New Delhi playing a role as a major power in global governance, including producing positive effect in a nuclear non-proliferation organisation,” it said.”As long as all NSG members reach a consensus over how a non-NPT member could join the NSG and India promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while sticking to its policy of independence and self-reliance, China could support New Delhi’s path toward the club,” it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his maiden state visit to Belgium, expressed India’s solidarity with the European nation for the tragedy that struck Brussels on 22 March.
Speaking in Brussels, Modi said, “India stands in full support and solidarity with Belgium.” He offered his sincere gratitude for the warm welcome he received despite it being a tough time for the country.
Earlier in the day, Modi had also visited a memorial at the Maalbeek metro station for the victims of the Brussels attacks, which included Indian engineer Raghavendra Ganeshan. He laid a bouquet at the metro station.
Here is the full text of his speech:
Your Excellency Prime Minister Charles Michel,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for your remarks.
Last week has been a sad week for Belgium. Let me say Mr. Prime Minister that we share the depth of sorrow and grief that the people of Belgium have experienced in the last 8 days. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones to the terror strikes in Brussels last week. Having experienced terrorist violence ourselves on countless occasions, we share your pain. Mr. Prime Minister, in this time of crisis, the whole of India stands in full support and solidarity with the Belgian people. I deeply appreciate your welcome and the time that you have devoted to me despite pressing demands on you. As part of our efforts to respond to this common challenge we could resume discussions on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Negotiations on Extradition Treaty and a Treaty on Exchange of Sentenced Prisoners could be concluded expeditiously .
Our two countries share a long history of friendship. A hundred years ago, more than 130,000 soldiers from India fought in the First World War alongside your countrymen on Belgian soil. More than 9,000 Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice. Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of India-Belgium diplomatic ties. To celebrate this important milestone in our friendship, we look forward to welcoming His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium in India next year. We would also be commemorating it with a joint programme of activities in each others’ countries. My conversation with Prime Minister Charles Michel today covered the whole spectrum of our ties. A system of bilateral foreign policy consultations would recommend concrete ways to upgrade our partnership.
India is one of the brightest economic opportunities in the world today. Our macroeconomic fundamentals are robust , and at 7% plus, we are one of the fastest growing economies of the world. I believe that a combination of Belgian capacities and India’s economic growth can produce promising opportunities for businesses on both sides. Prime Minister and I have just held a productive interaction with Belgian CEOs and business persons earlier today. I invite the Belgian government and companies to pro-actively associate with India’s ambitious development projects including Digital India, Start Up India and Skill India. Belgian businesses can make their global supply chains more cost effective by manufacturing in India. India’s goal to modernize infrastructure, especially railways and ports, and building of 100 plus smart cities also presents a unique investment opportunity for the Belgian companies. These partnerships can help us reach new heights in our trade and commercial partnership. I have invited Prime Minister Michel to visit India with Belgian businesses to see first-hand the reality of India’s economic and political promise. Clearly, it is not just diamonds that can bring shine to our partnership. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges before mankind. Prime Minister and I have agreed to enhance our cooperation in renewable energy. We would also build partnerships in areas such as harnessing waste for energy, small wind turbines and zero emission buildings. Advancement in S&T and High technology areas is of particular importance for India’s development priorities. We welcome Belgium’s collaboration in these areas. Prime Minister Michel and I have just activated , remotely, India’s largest optical telescope. This product of Indo-Belgian collaboration is an inspiring example of what our partnership can achieve. The work is also afoot on other agreements in the areas of Information and Communication Technology, audio-visual production Tourism biotechnology and shipping and ports.
In a couple of hours from now, I would meet the E.U. leadership for the 13th India-E.U. Summit. For India, E.U. is one of our strongest strategic partners. Trade, Investment, and technology partnership between India and the E.U. would be one of the focus areas of our discussions. I feel that a progressive path and creative mind-set to India-E.U Trade and Investment Agreement can enable all the European countries, including Belgium, to benefit from India’s strong economic growth. I once again express my sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Charles Michel for his time, welcome and hospitality. I look forward to welcoming him in India.
Ahead of Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli’s maiden visit to India next month, the government has proposed formation of a four-member Eminent Persons’ Group to review the existing bilateral agreements with India including the strategic Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.The government has proposed names of four persons to form the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG), during the cabinet meeting yesterday though no formal decision was taken to this effect, minister for Information and Communication Sherdhan Rai said.Former finance minister and former Nepalese Ambassador to India Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, former chief of the Commission for Investigation Authority Suyra Nath Upadhyaya, former UN assistant secretary general Kul Chandra Gautam and CPN-UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai, were names proposed to be included in the EPG.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The next cabinet meeting will take a formal decision in this regard, said Rai. The 1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defence and foreign policy.The proposal to form the EPG comes as the government prepares for Prime Minister’s visit to India scheduled for the second week of February. Oli’s maiden visit to India comes amid great unease in bilateral relations, owing to months-long blockade of the land-locked country enforced by Indian-origin Madhesi people who are protesting Nepal’s new constitution.The Third Joint Commission Meeting of Nepal and India that was held here in July 2014 had decided to set up the EPG with four members from each side at the request of Nepal. The decision was also endorsed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal last year.It is learnt that India has already formed a four member EPG. The EPG will be authorised to look into the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations. It will get two years to come up with a comprehensive report on anything that needs to be amended in all bilateral treaties.