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Indus Water Treaty: World Bank appoints neutral expert, President of Arbitration Court

Washington. The World Bank has appointed a chairman of the Court of Arbitration and a ‘neutral expert’ in relation to the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower plants in view of disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. Announcing the appointments, the World Bank said on Monday that it is confident that neutral experts and highly qualified experts appointed as members of the Court of Arbitration will give fair and careful consideration to orders within their jurisdiction under the treaty.

The World Bank said in a statement that Michael Lino has been appointed neutral expert and Sean Murphy as chairman of the arbitration court. According to the statement, they will perform their duties as experts in the subject in their individual capacity and independently of any other appointments they receive. India did not immediately react to these appointments.

The treaty was signed after 9 years of talks

India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after 9 years of talks. This was also signed by the World Bank. This treaty establishes a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of information between the two countries regarding the use of rivers. However, India and Pakistan disagree on whether the technical design features of the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower plants violate the treaty.

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The statement said that Pakistan had requested the World Bank to set up a Court of Arbitration to consider its concerns regarding the design of two hydroelectric power projects, while India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert in view of similar concerns over the two projects . Under the Indus Water Treaty, India can freely use the entire waters of the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and the waters of the western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab are mainly allocated to Pakistan. India is allowed to build limited storage plants as per the norms set out in the Treaty on Western Rivers.

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