In a major relief for India, The Hague-based International Court of Arbitration has rejected Pakistan's objections by upholding New Delhi's right to divert water from the Kishenganga river for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.
In its final award on the India-Pakistan arbitration case, the court also decided that India shall release a minimum flow of nine cumecs (cubic meters per second) into the Kishenganga/Neelum river below the Kishenganga hydro-electric project (KHEP) at "all times."
The issue of minimum flow was left unresolved by the partial award issued on February 18, 2013.
The court, in its final award pronounced on Saturday, also decided that both India and Pakistan may seek "reconsideration" of its decision through the Permanent Indus Commission and the mechanisms of the Indus Waters Treaty "after a period of seven years from the first diversion of water from the Kishenganga river."
In its partial award, the court had unanimously decided that the 330MW project in Jammu and Kashmir is a run-of-river plant within the definition of the Indus Waters Treaty.
It had also held that India was free to divert water from the Kishenganga/Neelum River for power generation.
The court has given India the right to divert water for the project and has accepted Pakistan's demand for uninterrupted flow of water.
Pakistan has claimed that the project would rob it of 15 per cent of its share of river waters. It also accused India of trying to divert the river to harm Pakistan's Neelum-Jhelum hydro-electric project (NJHEP).
Recalling the matters already decided in the partial award, the court noted that India had "coupled intent with action" in the planning and construction of the KHEP before Pakistan achieved the same with respect to NJHEP, and that the KHEP had acquired "priority in right" as a result.