Indus Water Treaty: India sends notice to Pakistan to amend Treaty

Indus Water Treaty

New Delhi: India has sent a notice to Pakistan to amend the September 1960 Indus Water Treaty. This notice has been issued because of Islamabad’s stubborn stand on implementing this treaty. Government sources gave this information on Friday. Sources said that this notice was sent through the Indus Water Commissioners on January 25. This notice has been sent so that the process can be started regarding the change in this agreement made on 19 September 1960.

A source said that the purpose of giving notice for changes to the treaty is to provide an opportunity to Pakistan to hold inter-governmental talks within 90 days of the amendment. He said that the lessons learned in the last 62 years from this process can be incorporated while upgrading the Indus Water Treaty.

Significantly, India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after nine years of talks. The World Bank was also among the signatories of this treaty. According to this treaty, except for some exceptions, India can use the water of the eastern rivers without restriction. It (India) was given the right to use the water of the Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas rivers for transportation, electricity, and agriculture under the provisions related to India.

The notice to Pakistan is understood to have been sent by India in view of the neighboring country sticking to its stand on resolving differences on the issue related to the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects. This notice has been sent under the provisions of Article 12(3) of the Indus Water Treaty. Sources said that India has been a firm supporter and a responsible partner in implementing the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan in letter and spirit.

Indus Water Treaty

He said, “Pakistan’s actions adversely affected the provisions and implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty and forced India to issue appropriate notices to amend it.” In 2015, Pakistan requested the appointment of a neutral expert to investigate technical objections to the Indian Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects. In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally withdrew from this request and proposed to take these objections to the Court of Arbitration. Sources said that this unilateral step of Pakistan is in violation of the mechanism created for the settlement of disputes in Article 9 of the treaty. Accordingly, India made a separate request to refer the matter to a neutral expert.

“The possibility of launching two processes simultaneously on the same question and leading to inconsistent or contradictory results would create an unprecedented and legally untenable situation that could jeopardize the Indus Waters Treaty,’ the source said.” He said the World Bank had recognized this in 2016 and decided to stop launching two parallel processes while urging India and Pakistan to find a mutually compatible way.

The sources said Pakistan refused to discuss it in five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022, despite India’s repeated attempts to find a mutually acceptable route. He said that on the persistent insistence of Pakistan, the World Bank recently initiated the processes of neutral expert and arbitration court. He said that parallel consideration of the same issue does not come under the purview of the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty.

Sources said that in this way, India was forced to give notice of the amendment in view of the violation of the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. It may be noted that under the 1960 Indus River Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, the tributaries of the Indus River were divided into eastern and western rivers. Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi rivers were described as eastern rivers while Jhelum, Chenab, and Indus were described as western rivers. An average of 33 million acre-feet (MAF) of water from eastern rivers like Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas were given to India for full use. Along with this, about 135 MAF water of from the western rivers Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers was given to Pakistan.