New Delhi: A delegation from India attended a meeting of the Neutral Expert proceedings in the Kishenganga and Ratle matter at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Vienna on September 20 and 21, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced in a press release.
The meeting was convened by the Neutral Expert appointed on India’s request under the aegis of the Indus Waters Treaty. It was attended by representatives of India and Pakistan.
India's delegation for the meeting was led by the Department of Water Resources Secretary.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve KC attended the meeting as India’s Lead Counsel in this matter.
The MEA, in a press release, stated, "India’s participation in this meeting is in line with India’s consistent, principled stand that as per the graded mechanism provided for in the Indus Waters Treaty, the Neutral Expert proceedings are the only valid proceedings at this juncture."
The MEA cited this as the reason for India's refusal to participate in the parallel proceedings being carried out by an "illegally constituted Court of Arbitration" on the same set of issues related to Kishenganga and Ratle Hydroelectric Projects (HEPs).
"It is for this reason that India has taken the Treaty-consistent decision to not participate in the parallel proceedings being conducted by an illegally constituted Court of Arbitration on the same set of issues pertaining to the Kishenganga and Ratle HEPs," the MEA release said.
Further, according to the MEA, the Neutral Expert proceedings are ongoing and expected to continue for some time. It added that India is committed to engaging in a manner that supports the resolution of issues in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.
Earlier, in July, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India cannot be compelled to participate in parallel proceedings not envisaged by the Indus Water Treaty. It stated that New Delhi's "consistent and principled stand" has been that the constitution of the so-called Court of Arbitration is in contravention of the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.
"We have seen a press release issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) mentioning that an illegally constituted so-called Court of Arbitration has ruled that it has the 'competence' to consider matters concerning the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects," the MEA said in its release.
It added, "India's consistent and principled position has been that the constitution of the so-called Court of Arbitration is in contravention of the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. India cannot be compelled to recognize or participate in illegal and parallel proceedings not envisaged by the Treaty."