The World Bank on Wednesday suggested some “options” for resolving the deadlock between India and Pakistan over Kishenganga and Ratle projects, which come under the Indus Waters Treaty.
The “options” were suggested by CEO Kristalina Georgieva during a meeting with government officials in New Delhi.
However, officials refused to divulge details, saying these will be first discussed by higher authorities in the government before being made public.
World Bank representative Ian Solomon, who had visited the national capital on January 5 to discuss ways forward in the matter, was also present at the 30-minute meeting, which was attended by external affairs ministry and water resources ministry officials.
“We listened to her (Georgieva) during the meeting. India’s position continues to be the same on the issue. So, she suggested us some options to find a way forward.
“These options will be discussed by higher ups in the Foreign Office and the PMO before any step is taken,” a source said.
The source said India maintained during the meeting that it “has always respected and will respect” the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and that it is “always open for discussion and resolution of the issue in a friendly manner”.
“Only thing is that for everything there is a procedure. From India’s point of view, the procedure is... given it is a technical issue... that a neutral expert be appointed to look into the matter,” the source added.
Pakistan had last year approached the World Bank, complaining the two projects in Jammu and Kashmir violated the water distribution agreement.
India, however, had maintained the two projects do not violate the treaty and sought appointment of a neutral expert given the issues raised by Pakistan are “design related and technical ones”.
Responding, the World Bank, which has a specific role in dispute resolution between the country as per the treaty, decided to set up a Court of Arbitration (CoA) to settle the disputes following Pakistan’s demand. It also agreed to appoint a neutral expert as was sought by New Delhi.
India had reacted strongly to the decision to appoint the CoA.
The World Bank last December announced it would temporarily halt the two simultaneous processes to resolve the differences.