The Indus Waters Treaty is considered one of the most successful water-sharing endeavours in the world today.
India has now issued a notice to Pakistan, on January 25, seeking modification of the treaty, signed in September 1960.
The notice was sent to Islamabad through respective Commissioners as per provisions of the treaty. The action was necessitated as Pakistan has refused to discuss and resolve the issue of India’s Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects for the last five years, despite India’s efforts, sources said.
The modifications have been sought to make it easier for Pakistan to enter into intergovernmental negotiations, within 90 days, and rectify the ‘material breach’ of the un. This process would also update IWT to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years.
The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 by India and Pakistan, after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory of the pact.
It set a structure for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding the use of waters of several rivers. India got control over the eastern rivers Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej, while westernthe Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum were given to Pakistan.
Under the agreement, India has about 20% of the total water carried by the Indus system, which can be used for limited irrigation use and unlimited non-consumptive use for such applications as power generation.
The treaty also lays down detailed regulations for India in building projects over the western rivers.
Pakistan had in 2015 sought a neutral expert to examine its technical objections to India’s ‘Kishenganga’ and ‘Ratle’ Hydro Electric Projects.
Pakistan withdrew the next year unilaterally and proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate its objections.
Two simultaneous processes are in contravention of the graded mechanism of dispute settlement, sources said, adding that India then made a separate request for the matter to be referred to a neutral expert.
Government sources said that despite repeated efforts by India to find a mutually agreeable way forward, Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022. At Pakistan’s continuing insistence, the World Bank has recently initiated actions on both the neutral expert and Court of Arbitration processes, they said.
‘India has always been a steadfast supporter and a responsible partner in implementing IWT in letter and spirit. However, Pakistan’s actions have adversely impinged on the provisions of IWT and their implementation, and forced India to issue an appropriate notice for modification of IWT,’ government sources said.