Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 02:33:11

Indus Water Treaty: India preparing to encircle Pakistan

Updated: January 27, 2023 1:33 pm

The Government of India has issued a notice to Pakistan for amendment in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) of September 1960. The government has said that Pakistan’s wrongful actions have adversely affected the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty and its implementation and forced India to issue a notice for revision of the IWT.

The Indian government said that despite repeated attempts by India to mutually find a mediated path, Pakistan has refused to discuss the issue during five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022. The government said that due to these reasons a notice has now been issued to Pakistan.

The real controversy over the Indus Water Treaty began when in 2015 Pakistan requested for the appointment of a neutral expert to investigate its objections to India’s Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects. Subsequently in 2016, Pakistan unilaterally withdrew the request and proposed that an arbitration court adjudicates on its objections. However, this unilateral action of Pakistan is in violation of the graded mechanism of dispute resolution envisaged by Article IX of the IWT.

India then made a separate request to the World Bank to refer the matter to a neutral expert. Following this, the World Bank itself acknowledged this in 2016 and has recently initiated both the neutral expert and court of arbitration procedures. However, such parallel consideration of similar issues does not fall under any of the provisions of IWT.

The main reason for the notice issued by the Government of India to amend the Indus Water Treaty is to provide an opportunity to Pakistan to participate in inter-governmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the violation of the IWT. Notably, this negotiation will also amend the IWT to incorporate the agreement settled in the last 62 years.

Here, it is worth mentioning that the Indus Water Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan. The treaty was brought on 19 September 1960 by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then Pakistani President Ayub Khan. To make this treaty practical, the World Bank also became a signatory to it. It is noteworthy that under this treaty, India has rights over the waters of the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej while Pakistan has rights over most of the waters of the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

Posted by Uday India

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