ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Baglihar: A New Dispute

A New Dispute The talks between India and Pakistan on the Baglihar project on the Chenab in the Indus system have failed and Pakistan has written to the World Bank invoking the arbitration clause in the Indus treaty. This is a disappointing development. Considering that it was possible for the two countries to reach an agreement in the 1970s (admittedly after prolonged negotiations) on the Salal project which involved a dam and a reservoir, the general expectation was that agreement on Baglihar, a run-of-the-river project, would be relatively easier. It had been assumed that the disputes over Baglihar and another project, namely, the Tulbul navigation project or the Wular Barrage, were proving difficult for political rather than technical reasons, and that with an improvement in the political climate these differences would get resolved at the intergovernmental level without recourse to arbitration. That expectation has been belied. There is perhaps a sense of regret on the part of some in this country that the international reputation that the treaty has acquired over the years for smooth functioning despite the difficult relationship between the two countries is now going to be tarnished by the invocation of the arbitration clause for the first time. It is also puzzling that at a time when the relationship between the two countries seemed to be improving and talks had been resumed to international acclaim, this negative development that casts a shadow on the

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