10 things you must know about Indus Water Treaty

The Indus Water Treaty is in focus following the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan

GN Bureau | September 23, 2016


#Indus Water Treaty   #India   #Pakistan   #Sutlej   #Beas   #Ravi   #Indus   #Jhelum   #Chenab  

  1.    It was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 for sharing of waters of six river originating in India and flowing to Pakistan and is, till today, considered to be the most successful bilateral treaty on resource sharing between two nations.

2.     The treaty gives India the absolute right to use waters of eastern rivers - Sutlej, Beas and Ravi - while it must allow unhindered flow of waters of western river - Indus, Jhelum and Chenab - to Pakistan.
 
3.    The waters flowing from India irrigate about 110,000 square kilometer of Pakistan’s territory (approximately one fifth of its area) and caters to the needs of more than 60 percent population living in villages and towns.
 
4.    Under this treaty while India can build dams and power projects on western rivers and store water on eastern rivers, it cannot do the same on western rivers. In case of a developmental work on the western river (which flow in J&K), India needs to seek permission from the Indus water commission.
 
5.    This has, of late, hindered developmental projects in J&K. Islamabad has been raising undue objections to construction of projects on rivers. One example of Pakistan blocking development is that of Tulbul navigation project on river Jhelum in 1984. This had to be scrapped after Pakistan raised objections. The project involved building a barrage at river Jhelum at the mouth of Wular lake to make the river navigational.
 
6.    Pakistan has gone for international arbitration over alleged violation of the treaty by India on the Baglihar power project on river Chenab in Jammu and on Kishenganga project in Kashmir. Pakistan had lost in both the cases.
 
7.    India can always block flow of virtually all the rivers and particularly the eastern ones by closing the gates on dams built on these rivers and stop the flow of water to Pakistan. As a result Pakistan’ major parts will be turned into parched lands and population will suffer.
 
8.    Kashmiri leaders will be the happiest in such a scenario. State’s leadership had been asking Delhi to scrap or rework the treaty since it puts J&K to disadvantage. According to one study, of the 20,000 MW power potential of J&K rivers, the state is only able to harness the water for 2,500 MW power due to restrictions put by IWT.
 
9.    Internationally, any party can back out from the bilateral treaty in case of a national exigency. In case India backs out from treaty on the issue of threat to its national security from terrorism sponsoring Pakistan, it’s justifiable.
 
10.   Not all countries have bilateral treaties on resource sharing – like India and China have Brahmaputra flowing between them but have no treaty.
 

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