Indus water dispute: India, Pakistan attend meeting in Vienna

NEW DELHI: India attended a two-day meeting convened by a neutral expert in Vienna that was part of proceedings aimed at resolution of a dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad on the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve was present in the capacity of India's lead counsel in the matter, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

"A delegation from India, led by Secretary, Department of Water Resources, attended a meeting of the neutral expert proceedings in the Kishenganga and Ratle matter at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Vienna on September 20 and 21," it said.

The MEA said the meeting was convened by the neutral expert appointed on India's request under the aegis of the Indus Waters Treaty and was attended by representatives of India and Pakistan.

"India's participation in this meeting is in line with India's consistent, principled stand that as per the graded mechanism provided for in the Indus Waters Treaty, the neutral expert proceedings are the only valid proceedings at this juncture," the MEA said in a statement.

"It is for this reason that India has taken the Treaty-consistent decision to not participate in the parallel proceedings being conducted by an illegally constituted Court of Arbitration on the same set of issues pertaining to the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects," it said.

The MEA said the neutral expert proceedings are ongoing and expected to continue for some time. "India is committed to engaging in a manner that supports the resolution of issues in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty," it said.

India has not cooperated with the Court of Arbitration process to resolve the dispute.

India considers the start of the two concurrent processes to resolve the dispute violates the provision of the three-step graded mechanism prescribed in the Indus Waters Treaty.

India has been pushing for resolution of the dispute through the neutral expert proceedings.


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