The World Bank has named Swiss national Professor Raymond Lafitte as a neutral expert to resolve the Baglihar dam disagreement between Pakistan and India, according to

The choice of Laffite, a civil engineer and a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, has been approved by both India and Pakistan.

Pakistan approached the Bank for help as it brokered the original Indus Water Treaty (1960), which gives the country exclusive rights to the waters of the Indus basin’s three western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab), and neighbours India control over the waters of the three eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas). Pakistan is concerned that Islamabad’s building of the 450MW Baglihar dam will give India an uneven share of the Chenab’s waters.

Under the Indus treaty, India is allowed to use the Chenab for hydroelectric generation, but not for irrigation. Pakistan is angered that the US$1B Baghliar dam will allow India to draw up to 198m3/sec of water from the Chenab per day, not only breaking the treaty but reducing the flow into its own territory.

However, India stands firm that the controversial project does fulfil the requirements of the Indus treaty.

The latest talks between the two nations collapsed on 6 January 2005 in New Delhi and a resolution has been pending ever since.

The Baglihar dam is just part of the conflict between India and Pakistan over the control of their shared waters; other projects, including Wullar barrage on the Jhelum river and Kishan Ganga dam on the Neelum river, are also the subject of dispute.

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