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India allowed to go ahead with Kishanganga project

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India allowed to go ahead with Kishanganga project
India allowed to go ahead with Kishanganga project

The International Court of Arbitration has allowed India to go ahead with construction of the Kishanganga dam in Jammu and Kashmir, over which Pakistan has raised objections.

The court delivered its “final award” last night after India requested clarification of an order issued by it in February.

In its “partial award” in February, the court upheld India’s main contention that it has the right to divert waters of western rivers, in a non-consumptive manner, for optimal generation of power.

The western rivers are allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.

The “final award” specifies that 9 cumecs of natural flow of water must be maintained in Kishenganga river at all times to maintain the environment downstream, said a statement from the Indian High Commission here.

This is much lower than the 100 cumecs of natural flow that Pakistan wanted to maintain, it said.

“We have also received the clarification we sought from the court with regard to the technique of draw—down flushing used for the de-siltation of reservoir in run of the river power projects in the western rivers of the Indus,” the statement said.

The court said alternative techniques will have to be used for Kishanganga hydroelectric project and all future run of the river projects undertaken on western rivers of the Indus system.

Contrary to negative propaganda that the Indus Waters Treaty has been receiving in recent years, the International Court of Arbitration’s award has shown the pact is a strong framework for division of river waters between India and Pakistan, the statement said.

The treaty has stood the test of time and ups and downs in India-Pakistan relations, it said. “It is hoped that the negative arguments often heard on the working of this treaty will be finally put to rest,” it added.

Meanwhile, Water Minister Khwaja Asif claimed Pakistan had achieved a “big victory” through the court’s ruling.

“Pakistan has achieved a big victory (as) International Court of Arbitration has accepted Pakistan’s right as a riparian state to waters of Kishanganga. Similarly Pakistan’s right over waters of Jhelum and Chenab rivers is also established,” he said.

“The decision will safeguard our water rights in future also,” he said.

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