Indus Water Treaty

#GS2 #BilateralRelations 

India has refused a request by Pakistan to hold a meeting on issues around the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) at the Attari check post near the India-Pakistan border.

What is the latest issue?

  • Among the key points on the table was evolving a procedure to solve differences in technical aspects governing the construction of the Ratle run-of-the-river (RoR) project on the Chenab in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • India has called for the appointment of a ‘neutral’ party’ while Pakistan favors a Court of Arbitration to agree upon a final resolution on the design parameters of this hydropower project.

What do the terms say?

  • According to the terms of the IWT, India has the right to build RoR projects on the three ‘western’ rivers — the Chenab, Jhelum, and Indus — provided it does so without substantially impeding water flow in Pakistan downstream.
  • Pakistan believes that the project’s current design does pose a serious impediment and has told the World Bank that it wants a Court of Arbitration (CoA) set up to decide on the issue. India says this is only a technical issue and mutually solvable. It has agreed to a ‘neutral party’ since a CoA potentially could stall any construction on all Indus projects.

About Indus Water Treaty 

  • The treaty was signed in 1960 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan.
  • The six rivers of the Indus basin originate in Tibet and flow across the Himalayan ranges to end in the Arabian Sea south of Karachi.
  • The three western rivers (Jhelum, Chenab, and Indus) were allocated to Pakistan while India was given control over the three eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej).
  • While India could use the western rivers for consumption purposes, restrictions were placed on the building of storage systems. The treaty states that aside from certain specific cases, no storage and irrigation systems can be built by India on the western rivers.
  • It was brokered by the World Bank. The Treaty also provides an arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably. A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.


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