India making IWT dysfunctional: Pak
Islamabad, Mar 22 : On a day when UN chief Antonio Guterres cited cooperation on water issues between India and Pakistan while launching ‘International Decade for Action on Water’, Pakistan accused India of making the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) “dysfunctional” and said it has taken up the matter with the World Bank.
The IWT was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory.
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.
“Indus Waters Treaty has been made dysfunctional by India. Its dispute resolution mechanism is currently not working, which includes the contentious Kishanganga and Ratle power projects,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said while addressing the weekly press briefing here.
Faisal said Pakistan on its part was taking up this issue with the World Bank.
Pakistan has consistently maintained that “a result-oriented and meaningful dialogue, which is uninterrupted and uninterruptable, is the only viable solution to the problems facing Pakistan and India,” he said.
He also said that Pakistan and India were working on proposals to activate the Judicial Committee and the exchange of doctors between both sides.
Responding to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that Indian government forces can cross over the Line of Control, if needed, to protect country’s territorial integrity, Faisal said “such irresponsible belligerent statements reflect the jingoistic mindset prevailing in India which can further exacerbate the already vitiated environment.”
He said Pakistan refrains from such aggressive statements but “our armed forces are fully capable of giving a befitting response in case of any misadventure.”
UN chief launches Int’l Decade for Action on Water, cites Indo-Pak cooperation
United Nations, Mar 22 (PTI) UN chief Antonio Guterres said today that effective management of water was critical to meet the increasing challenges of its scarcity on the planet as he cited cooperation on water issues between India and Pakistan.
General Guterres was speaking at the launch of ‘International Decade for Action on Water’ for sustainable development.
Launched on the occasion of World Water Day, the decade which will run from 2018-2028 calls for a greater focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives.
It also calls on the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects, as well as on the furtherance of cooperation and partnership at all levels in order to help achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“With demand for freshwater projected to grow by more than 40 percent by the middle of the century, and with climate change having a growing impact, water scarcity is an enormous concern. By 2050 at least one in four people will live in a country where the lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent,” Guterres said.
“We cannot continue to take water for granted and expect to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Today, I am using the launch of the Water Action Decade to make a global call to action for water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH – in all health care facilities,” he said.
The UN Chief said without effective management of the planet’s water resources, nations risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and even increased tensions among nations.
Growing demands for water, coupled with poor water management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world, he said.
He, however, expressed satisfaction that so far, water has historically proven to be a catalyst for cooperation not for conflict.
“From my own experience, the Albufeira Convention, agreed during my time as Prime Minister of Portugal, continues to promote good relations on water management between Spain and Portugal. And, there are many more examples of cooperation on water – between India and Pakistan, Bolivia and Peru, and several others,” he said.
India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed arch rivals in south Asia, signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank also being a signatory.
The Treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers.
However, there have been disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the treaty.
While the World Bank has said India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan opposes the construction of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India.
The water decade was launched by Guterres, President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and water experts and practitioners.
Guterres said nations cannot take peace – or their precious and fragile water resources – for granted.
“Quite simply, water is a matter of life and death. Our bodies are 60 per cent water. Our cities, our industries and our agriculture all depend on it,” he said.
Underlining how dire the problem of water scarcity can be for the planet, Guterres said 40 per cent of the world’s people were affected by water scarcity, 80 per cent of waste water is discharged untreated into the environment and more than 90 per cent of disasters are water-related.
More than two billion people lack access to safe water, and more than 4.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation services.
“What these numbers mean is a harsh daily reality for people in rural communities and urban slums in all regions of the world. Many of the most serious diseases in the developing world are directly related to unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices,” he said.