India and Pakistan for the second time have submitted themselves to the World Bank to resolve a dispute between them over their respective interpretation of Indus Waters Treaty which indicates India is toning down PM Modi’s hardcore stand on Pakistan. The presence of Deepak Mittal, joint secretary in charge of the Pakistan desk in the Ministry of External Affairs in the delegation led by Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh is significant proves a point. The water talks with Pakistan is taking place over Thursday and Friday in Washington DC.
Since the Pathankot and Uri attack the previous year, the Indian government has discouraged any sort of dialogues with Pakistan unless the cross border terrorism comes to an end. Bimal Patel, member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and Law Commission talking about India’s participation in the talks said that he is not aware of the government’s intention yet. ” “ The government’s intention is not known, but it is uncalled for to participate in such meetings to perpetuate a third party role, ” Patel said.
The five member NSAB is being led by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Patel said that he fails to understand why India is going to the World Bank. “I don’t know why we are going to the World Bank. We should not go to the World Bank. I fail to understand why they (the government) are doing this, inviting the World Bank to play a role which should not be there,” said Patel. the dispute between the two countries is over the construction of two hydroelectric plants on the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab respectively. Pakistan complained that India was violating 1960 Indus Waters Treaty which was signed under the patronage of World Bank because it had given the unrestricted use of the waters of the two “Western Rivers” in the Indus system under the treaty.