Indus water treaty, 1960:

  • Signed b/w India and Pakistan on sharing of River Indus and its five tributaries Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
  • Under the Treaty:
    • Of which Indus, Jhelum, Chenab (IJC) are under the control of Pakistan but with some provisions to India and Ravi, Beas and sutlej (RBS) will be governed by India.
    • Permanent Indus Commission is constituted to see the sharing pattern of the rivers according to treaty.
    • Brokering of world bank is arranged with some arbitrary mechanism
  • It has been very peaceful treaty so far. But why is it in news?
    • With the PM statement after the Uri attack, that, “Blood and Water should not flow simultaneously”. So,stopping the water or abrogating (abstain) the treaty….
  • Impacts if the treaty is scrapped:
    • On Indian side:
      • Environmental:
        • No Infrastructure yet to handle the water that is diverted so it will flood at valley region, which will impact the ecosystem
        • EarthQuake prone area, so further construction of hydro projects will make the area more vulnerable.
      • Social:
        • Rehabilitation and Resettlement of people where flooding occurs due to diversion of water
        • People’s resentment from both countries due to draught from Pak side and flooding on our side.
      • Economical:
        • To divert water huge investments should be made to construct dams which will drain the economy.
      • Political:
        • It will create a skepticism on India to neighbours which are also a part of water treaties with India.
        • Global condemnation will come.
    • On Pakistan side:
      • 65% of area comes under this rivers which means more than half is dependent on this Rivers.
      • Environmental:
        • Ecosystem will get damage due to no water.
      • Social:
        • People will suffer with no water for potable purpose and for agriculture purpose.
        • People unrest due to drought like situations
      • Economical:
        • It will impact Pak’s agriculture economy
      • Political:
        • Will get support from world bank which will involve in arbitration process and favourable decision will come to Pak side, in which India is not interested with.
        • China being a close ally to Pak, it can stop flowing of Brahmaputra river to Assam.
  • Concerns of Pakistan on India so far:
    • Hydropower project in Kashmir – 1970
    • Tulbul Barrage/Wullar Barrage on Jhelum – 1984
      • It is a navigation “lock cum control” structure, which is used for raising the water heights by pumping water during winters, when depth of the water is not supportive for navigation purpose
      • Stopped after Pakistan objection due its impact on triple canal project connecting Jhelum-Chenab with Upper Bari Doab canal, again came into picture when modi is planning to revive it.
    • Kishanganga hydroelectric project – 2007
    • Water terrorism issue raised by Lashkar-e-Taiba
    • Choking of water supply
    • Plan to Abrotage the Indus water Treaty – 2016
  • Possibilities of Abrogating the treaty:
    • Yes:
      • Treaty was not signed by the President who is a real head of the state. So it is questioning the validity of treaty.
    • No:
      • Acc to the treaty, India cannot take any unilateral decision to divert the whole water and to abrogate the treaty.
      • Abrogation of treaty is against the Vienna Convention on the laws of treaties in which India is a signy
  • Conclusion:
    • It is not good for India’s image to divert the water or to abridge the Treaty unilaterally. On humanitarian grounds it will affect the people in the opposite country at large which is not good for our values. India being an aspiration country to UNSC membership it should respect the bilateral treaties. Apart from abrogating the treaty if India tries to exploit the complete provision of the treaty, which says the western rivers i.e., IJC can be used by India for non consumptive needs i.e., for irrigation, storage and electricity production and development  of Kabul river in Afghanistan can send a strong signal to Pakistan.
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