Kashmir settlement. Accordingly, I proposed that India and Pakistan work out a program jointlyto develop and jointly to operate the Indus Basin river system, upon which both nations weredependent for irrigation water. With new dams and irrigation canals, the Indus and its tributariescould be made to yield the additional water each country needed for increased food production.In the article I had suggested that the World Bank might use its good offices to bring the partiesto agreement, and help in the financing of an Indus Development program. (Gulhati 93)Lilienthal's idea was well received by officials at the World Bank, and, subsequently, by the Indian andPakistani governments. Eugene R. Black, then president of the World Bank told Lilienthal that his proposal "makes good sense all round". Black wrote that the Bank was interested in the economic progress of the two countries and had been concerned that the Indus dispute could only be a serioushandicap to this development. India's previous objections to third party arbitration were remedied bythe Bank's insistence that it would not adjudicate the conflict, but, instead, work as a conduit for agreement.Black also made a distinction between the "functional" and "political" aspects of the Indus dispute. Inhis correspondence with Indian and Pakistan leaders, Black asserted that the Indus dispute could mostrealistically be solved if the functional aspects of disagreement were negotiated apart from politicalconsiderations. He envisioned a group that tackled the question of how best to utilize the waters of theIndus Basin - leaving aside questions of historic rights or allocations.Black proposed a Working Party made up of Indian, Pakistani and World Bank engineers. The WorldBank delegation would act as a consultative group, charged with offering suggestions and speedingdialogue. In his opening statement to the Working Party, Black spoke of why he was optimistic aboutthe group's success:One aspect of Mr. Lilienthal's proposal appealed to me from the first. I mean his insistence thatthe Indus problem is an engineering problem and should be dealt with by engineers. One of thestrengths of the engineering profession is that, all over the world, engineers speak the samelanguage and approach problems with common standards of judgment. (Gulhati 110)Black's hopes for a quick resolution to the Indus dispute were premature. While the Bank had expectedthat the two sides would come to an agreement on the allocation of waters, neither India nor Pakistanseemed willing to compromise their positions. While Pakistan insisted on its historical right to watersof all the Indus tributaries, the Indian side argued that the previous distribution of waters should not setfuture allocation. Instead, the Indian side set up a new basis of distribution, with the waters of theWestern tributaries going to Pakistan and the Eastern tributaries to India. The substantive technicaldiscussions that Black had hoped for were stymied by the political considerations he had expected toavoid.The World Bank soon became frustrated with this lack of progress. What had originally beenenvisioned as a technical dispute that would quickly untangle itself became an intractable mess. Indiaand Pakistan were unable to agree on the technical aspects of allocation, let alone the implementationof any agreed upon distribution of waters. Finally, in 1954, after nearly two years of negotiation, theWorld bank offered its own proposal, stepping beyond the limited role it had apportioned for itself andforcing the two sides to consider concrete plans for the future of the basin. The proposal offered Indiathe three eastern tributaries of the basin and Pakistan the three western tributaries. Canals and storagedams were to be constructed to divert waters from the western rivers and replace the eastern river supply lost by Pakistan.