In September 2016, right after the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had warned Pakistan that blood and water cannot flow together. 11 days after the attack, the PM spoke of reviewing the Indus Water Treaty. His one line created a stir in Pakistan. Raising questions like ‘Will Pakistan crave for a drop of water’, a debate broke out in the Pakistani media. At present the situation there is very bad. People do not have bread to eat, the treasury of the government is also getting empty. At such a time, a notice from India has once again created tension among the Pakistanis. Then PM Modi had said that such agreements cannot be unilateral. It requires trust and cooperation. The important thing is that Pakistan gets 80 percent water of Indus, Jhelum, Chenab only through Indus water sharing. Now India has issued a notice to Pakistan for amendment to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960. India says that Islamabad is reluctant to implement the agreement and is taking unilateral steps which is not right.
What is the system of Indus river?
The waters of the Indus and its tributaries are important to both India and Pakistan. The Indus river system consists of the main river Indus and five tributaries joining it on the left bank, which are the Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum and Chenab. Kabul, a right bank tributary, does not flow into India. The Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej together are called the Eastern Rivers, while the Chenab and Jhelum, including the Indus, are called the Western Rivers.
At the time of independence, the boundary line between India and Pakistan was drawn through the Indus river valley. The lower river bank came in the part of Pakistan and the upper river bank came in the part of India. Two important irrigation projects on the Ravi and Sutlej rivers came to India’s side, on which the irrigation canals in Punjab (Pakistan) depended for water supply. Thus a dispute arose between the two countries regarding the use of irrigation water. The Indus Water Treaty was signed in 1960 with the help of the World Bank.
Why did the controversy come up for discussion now?
The reason for the discussion of the Indus Water Treaty is the notice issued by India to Pakistan regarding the amendment of the treaty. According to government sources, the notice has been issued because of Islamabad’s stubborn stand on implementing the treaty. The notice was sent on January 25 through the Indus Water Commissioners. There have been repeated attempts by India to proceed in a mutually agreeable
manner. Despite this, Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022. At Pakistan’s insistence, the World Bank has recently initiated both the Neutral Expert and Court of Arbitration procedures. Such parallel views on similar issues do not fall under any provision of the Indus Water Treaty.
What is the concern of Pakistan
In fact, Pakistan is objecting to the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir. He refused to discuss with India. The World Bank is also a signatory to the IWT and has been calling on India and Pakistan to find a solution based on consensus. In October last year, the World Bank appointed an expert to investigate the matter. Pakistan claims that the case is going on in the Court established under the IWT provisions in The Hague. India wants the agreement to be updated incorporating the experiences gained over the last 62 years.