The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague has rejected India’s objections to a Pakistan-initiated procedure concerning water use in the Indus River basin, Reuters reported. This decision reopens a procedure that had been stalled for many years.
India had deemed the arbitration proceeding illegal, as a neutral expert was already examining the issue, and the World Bank-brokered treaty prohibits parallel proceedings. India has boycotted The Hague court proceedings and questioned the court’s competence.
The PCA unanimously rejected India’s objections, stating that it is competent to consider and determine the disputes set forth in Pakistan’s Request for Arbitration. The court will address the interpretation and application of the bilateral Indus Water Treaty, notably the provisions on hydro-electric projects, as well as the legal effect of past decisions of dispute resolution bodies under the Treaty.
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Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, stated that India’s “consistent and principled position has been that the constitution of this so-called court of arbitration is in contravention of the clear letter and spirit of the Indus Water Treaty”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office expressed its commitment to the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty and its settlement mechanism, terming it a “foundational agreement” between the two countries. They expressed hope that India would also implement the Treaty in good faith.
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