New Delhi: Deputy National Security Advisor (NSA) Vikram Misri Friday chaired a meeting concerning the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in Srinagar as tensions with Pakistan soar over the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects.
Misri was holding the second meeting of the Task Force “to ensure exercise of India’s rights” under the IWT and to take “stock of the progress made” on the various hydro power projects, according to a statement issued by the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd.
The statement also said that the meeting noted that “progress had been made on several fronts and emphasis was laid on completing the works on all the Indus Basin Projects in a timely manner to enable better utilisation of India’s right under the Indus Waters Treaty”.
The meeting was being attended by the officials of the J&K as well as the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The Deputy NSA, who was in Srinagar on a two-day visit, also held talks with the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha. Misri apprised Sinha of the “ongoing efforts to monitor implementation” of hydro power projects in the Indus Basin “under the direction of the PMO”, the statement added.
Last month, Pakistan sent a letter in response to India’s notice to Islamabad in January this year where New Delhi has stated that it is seeking modification of certain provisions of the IWT.
The January notice was sent to Pakistan even as that country filed a dispute on the hydro projects at the Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
India and Pakistan have been engaged in a bitter battle over the two projects — Kishenganga hydroelectric power plant (330 megawatts) and Ratle hydroelectric power plant (330 megawatts) — as both sides disagree over the technical design and believe it violates the basic tenets of the treaty.
The World Bank is also a signatory to the treaty and had been the main facilitator in the negotiations when the pact was signed in 1960.
Last October, the World Bank sought to keep the demands made by both sides in appointing a neutral expert as well as a chairman of the Court of Arbitration. While it was New Delhi that wanted a neutral expert to look into the concerns of both sides over the two projects, Islamabad wanted to fight out legally at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
India is upset that while an expert has been appointed to look into the matter, Pakistan has made it a legal battle of sorts and hence it believes that the provisions of the treaty have been violated. According to New Delhi, both demands cannot be accommodated under the provisions of the treaty.
Misri Met Military And Security Officials
During the visit, Misri also met senior military and security officials for an assessment of the security situation in the valley, especially the successful conclusion of the recent meeting of G20 Tourism Working Group in Srinagar on 22-24 May.
As the G20 came to a close Wednesday, Sinha said, “For almost 30 years, this land of peaceful co-existence of almost all religious sects had to suffer state-sponsored terrorism by our neighbouring country.”
He added, “However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through development schemes that empower masses and the Union Territory’s effective administration, isolated the terror ecosystem, which thrived with support from across the border.”
Sinha also went on to say that “injustice, exploitation and discrimination” has now been “completely eliminated” from the valley.