Islamabad, April 11, 2017: The secretary-level dialogue between Pakistan and India on Indus water treaty will be held either by the end of April or beginning of May in Washington, the Pakistani media reported on Tuesday.
Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif on March 20 said the talks will be held for developing a consensus in the light of the treaty on the mechanism for resolution of “faulty designs” of 300 mw Kishenganga and 850 mw Ratle hydropower projects, The News International quoted a senior official as saying.
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Asif had said the secretary-level talks would take place in Washington from April 11-13 as proposed by the World Bank.
He said Pakistan was prepared for the talks but India was not ready for the proposed dates.
“And we are hopeful that belated talks will take place by the end of current month (April),” the official said.
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The official said the World Bank wanted both countries to develop a consensus either on mechanism of neutral expert or of court of arbitration mentioned in the treaty for the resolution of issues.
A World Bank official would also be part of the meeting and try to persuade both the countries to reach consensus on any mechanisms or find the middle way.
Pakistan wants the World Bank to constitute a court of arbitration to resolve the disputes, but India wants the solution through the mechanism of neutral experts. (IANS)
A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.
A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.
The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.
Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.
New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.
The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.
Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.
Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.
-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.
New Delhi, August 04, 2017: Indus Water Treaty has recently gone through major developments, as a long pending project proposed by India has resurfaced and gained a lot of buzz in the media. While the media proclaimed that World Bank had allowed India to build Kishanganga and Ratle power plants on the western river. In an official clarification statement by the “World Bank”, they have denied any confirmation on the Indian power plants being permitted to set up on Jhelum and Chenab river, they further added that the parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington, D.C.
While the media proclaimed that World Bank had allowed India to build Kishanganga and Ratle power plants on the western river. In an official clarification statement by the “World Bank”, they have denied any confirmation on the Indian power plants being permitted to set up on Jhelum and Chenab river, they further added that the parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington, D.C.
What Is Indus Water Treaty?
The Indus Water Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.
According to this agreement, control over the three “eastern” rivers — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej — was given to India, while control over the three “western” rivers — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum — to Pakistan. More controversial, however, were the provisions on how the waters were to be shared. Since Pakistan’s rivers flow through India first, the treaty allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise regulations for Indian building projects along the way. The treaty was a result of Pakistani fear that, since the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India, it could potentially create droughts and famines in Pakistan, especially at times of war.
Since the ratification of the treaty in 1960, India and Pakistan have not engaged in any water wars. Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.
Why Is It Still a Reason of Discord?
Indus water treaty is said to be one of the world’s most generous water-sharing treaty, in terms of higher sharing ratio and the total volume of basin waters for the downstream state (Pakistan gets 90 times greater volume of water than Mexico’s share under a 1944 pact with the U.S.).
Today, it remains the only inter-country water agreement in the world embodying the doctrine of restricted sovereignty, which seeks to compel an upriver state to defer to the interests of a downstream state. Treaty curbs, for example, obviate any Indian control over the timing or quantum of the Pakistan-earmarked rivers’ trans-boundary flows.
Pakistan’s obstructionist tactics are a testament to how water remains a source of discord for Pakistan despite a treaty that is one of the most successful water-sharing pacts in the world. Run of the river project was a major example that displayed the India-Pakistan rocky relations, by aiming to deny J&K the limited benefits permissible under the treaty, Pakistan wanted to further its strategy to foment discontent and violence there.
While the decision to approve this project was pending, Pakistan used the situation to spread violence in India, even though soon after India blamed Pakistan for the Uri attacks, the Prime Minister of India approved the project followed by that was his statement – “blood and water cannot flow together”. His remarks were seemingly two fold and the terrorism had to end but India could have fully utilized the economic potential available to it within the treaty.
While India had proposed this project much earlier in 2010, Pakistan standing true to their fanatical nature projected international arbitration over the proceedings of a small scale 330-megawatt plant in a small tributary of Indus river called Kishanganga. It persuaded the arbitral tribunal in 2011 to order India to suspend work on the project. With Indian work suspended, Pakistan ramped up construction of its own three-times-larger, Chinese-aided hydropower plant on the same river so as to take a priority right on river-water use.
While India requested the appointment of a neutral expert in this matter and contending Pakistan’s “technical” concerns. The World Bank’s role in relation to “differences” and “disputes” is limited to the designation of people to fulfill certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties, the fact sheet said.
Earlier, in a letter dated July 25, the World Bank had assured Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna its “continued neutrality and impartiality in helping the parties to find an amicable way forward.”
The issue still remains unresolved as the World Bank mediators in a fact sheet have raised concerns from both the parties involved and “in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation”, the parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington DC.
–Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup
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Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS
June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.
Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.
Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.
Confusion leads to mistakes
All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”
Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.
Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.
“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.
IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.
IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.
Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.
“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.
IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.
Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.
IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.
Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.
Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.
Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.
“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.
IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.
Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.
“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)