ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said March 20 that India and Pakistan must respect the landmark Indus Waters Treaty, signed in 1960, as it is in the interest of both countries.
Asif's comments came as officials from India and Pakistan held the Indus Water Commission meeting March 20 to discuss the designs of three water projects being built by India on the Chenab.
"To respect this agreement and find a solution through it is in the interest of both countries," the minister said.
Asif also spoke about the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects for which Pakistan is seeking international court of arbitration through the World Bank.
Asif said delays had been witnessed in the past in the handling of the Kishanganga project.
"When we went to the court of arbitration our position was not as strong as it could have been if we had approached the court in a timely manner," the minister said.
However, he said that the country's position regarding the Ratle project is "very strong."
"We are working to make changes to the design of the project that are in Pakistan's interest and which are in accordance with the treaty," the minister said.
"Since the Indus Waters Treaty was signed, no dispute has been handled including the Ratle dam dispute," Asif said, adding, "We are in the position to fully protect our interests.”