You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National

What is the Indus Waters Treaty and can India abrogate it?

On Thursday, India raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a 'one-sided affair'

 

With saying that there have been differences over the implementation of the 1960 Waters Treaty, a dispute that was referred to an international tribunal under the aegis of the World Bank, the issue has come back into focus because of the current tension with following the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. On Thursday, raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a "one-sided affair".

So, what is the treaty all about? Here is a primer:

What is the Waters Treaty?

The Waters Treaty is a water-sharing arrangement signed by then Indian Prime Minister and then President of on September 19, 1960, in Karachi. It covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, and Jhelum. The agreement was brokered by the World Bank.

Why was the agreement signed?

The agreement was signed because the source of all the rivers of the basin were in (and Sutlej, though, originate in China). It allowed to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do's and don'ts for on building projects along the way. feared that could potentially create droughts in case of a war between the two countries. A Permanent Commission set up in this connection has gone through three wars between the two countries without disruption and provides a bilateral mechanism for consultation and conflict-resolution through inspections, exchange of data and visits.

What does the agreement entail?

The treaty gave the three "eastern rivers" of Beas, and to for use of water without restriction. The three "western rivers" of Indus, and were allocated to Pakistan. can construct storage facilities on "western rivers" of up to 3.6 million acre feet, which it has not done so far. is also allowed agriculture use of 7 lakh acres above the irrigated cropped area as on April 1, 1960.

Is there a dispute?

Although the two countries have been managing to share the waters without major dispute, experts say that the agreement is one of the most lop-sided with being allowed to use only 20 percent of the six-river water system. itself in July this year sought an international arbitration if sought to build hydro power projects on the and rivers. Though the agreement has been seen as one of the most successful water-sharing pacts, the current tension between the two South Asian neighbours might well lead to a flashpoint. Strategic affairs and security experts say that future wars could well be fought over water.

Could abrogate the agreement?

This is unlikely since the treaty has survived three wars between the two countries. Although on Thursday raised the issue, saying that for a treaty to work there had to be "mutual cooperation and trust" between the two sides, this seems to be more pressure tactics than any real threat to review the bilateral agreement. And the idea that can intimidate by threatening to cut of river waters is nothing new. It has arisen before every major conflict. A unilateral abrogation would also attract criticism from world powers, as this is one arrangement which has stood the test of time.

Short of abrogation, can do something?

Some experts have said that if starts making provision for storage facility involving the "western rivers", which it is allowed under the treaty of up to 3.6 million acre feet, this may send a strong message to its neighbour. has often sought arbitration proceedings just on mere impression that may do so, seeking to dissuade its larger neighbour from tinkering with the status quo.

image
Business Standard
177 22
Business Standard

What is the Indus Waters Treaty and can India abrogate it?

On Thursday, India raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a 'one-sided affair'

IANS  |  New Delhi 

A view of Beas River near Pandoh Dam in Mandi
A view of Beas River near Pandoh Dam in Mandi

 

With saying that there have been differences over the implementation of the 1960 Waters Treaty, a dispute that was referred to an international tribunal under the aegis of the World Bank, the issue has come back into focus because of the current tension with following the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. On Thursday, raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a "one-sided affair".

So, what is the treaty all about? Here is a primer:

What is the Waters Treaty?

The Waters Treaty is a water-sharing arrangement signed by then Indian Prime Minister and then President of on September 19, 1960, in Karachi. It covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, and Jhelum. The agreement was brokered by the World Bank.

Why was the agreement signed?

The agreement was signed because the source of all the rivers of the basin were in (and Sutlej, though, originate in China). It allowed to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do's and don'ts for on building projects along the way. feared that could potentially create droughts in case of a war between the two countries. A Permanent Commission set up in this connection has gone through three wars between the two countries without disruption and provides a bilateral mechanism for consultation and conflict-resolution through inspections, exchange of data and visits.

What does the agreement entail?

The treaty gave the three "eastern rivers" of Beas, and to for use of water without restriction. The three "western rivers" of Indus, and were allocated to Pakistan. can construct storage facilities on "western rivers" of up to 3.6 million acre feet, which it has not done so far. is also allowed agriculture use of 7 lakh acres above the irrigated cropped area as on April 1, 1960.

Is there a dispute?

Although the two countries have been managing to share the waters without major dispute, experts say that the agreement is one of the most lop-sided with being allowed to use only 20 percent of the six-river water system. itself in July this year sought an international arbitration if sought to build hydro power projects on the and rivers. Though the agreement has been seen as one of the most successful water-sharing pacts, the current tension between the two South Asian neighbours might well lead to a flashpoint. Strategic affairs and security experts say that future wars could well be fought over water.

Could abrogate the agreement?

This is unlikely since the treaty has survived three wars between the two countries. Although on Thursday raised the issue, saying that for a treaty to work there had to be "mutual cooperation and trust" between the two sides, this seems to be more pressure tactics than any real threat to review the bilateral agreement. And the idea that can intimidate by threatening to cut of river waters is nothing new. It has arisen before every major conflict. A unilateral abrogation would also attract criticism from world powers, as this is one arrangement which has stood the test of time.

Short of abrogation, can do something?

Some experts have said that if starts making provision for storage facility involving the "western rivers", which it is allowed under the treaty of up to 3.6 million acre feet, this may send a strong message to its neighbour. has often sought arbitration proceedings just on mere impression that may do so, seeking to dissuade its larger neighbour from tinkering with the status quo.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

What is the Indus Waters Treaty and can India abrogate it?

On Thursday, India raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a 'one-sided affair'

On Thursday, India raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a 'one-sided affair'

 

With saying that there have been differences over the implementation of the 1960 Waters Treaty, a dispute that was referred to an international tribunal under the aegis of the World Bank, the issue has come back into focus because of the current tension with following the September 18 cross-border terror attack on an army base at Uri in that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. On Thursday, raised the issue saying a treaty could not be a "one-sided affair".

So, what is the treaty all about? Here is a primer:

What is the Waters Treaty?

The Waters Treaty is a water-sharing arrangement signed by then Indian Prime Minister and then President of on September 19, 1960, in Karachi. It covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, and Jhelum. The agreement was brokered by the World Bank.

Why was the agreement signed?

The agreement was signed because the source of all the rivers of the basin were in (and Sutlej, though, originate in China). It allowed to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation, while laying down precise do's and don'ts for on building projects along the way. feared that could potentially create droughts in case of a war between the two countries. A Permanent Commission set up in this connection has gone through three wars between the two countries without disruption and provides a bilateral mechanism for consultation and conflict-resolution through inspections, exchange of data and visits.

What does the agreement entail?

The treaty gave the three "eastern rivers" of Beas, and to for use of water without restriction. The three "western rivers" of Indus, and were allocated to Pakistan. can construct storage facilities on "western rivers" of up to 3.6 million acre feet, which it has not done so far. is also allowed agriculture use of 7 lakh acres above the irrigated cropped area as on April 1, 1960.

Is there a dispute?

Although the two countries have been managing to share the waters without major dispute, experts say that the agreement is one of the most lop-sided with being allowed to use only 20 percent of the six-river water system. itself in July this year sought an international arbitration if sought to build hydro power projects on the and rivers. Though the agreement has been seen as one of the most successful water-sharing pacts, the current tension between the two South Asian neighbours might well lead to a flashpoint. Strategic affairs and security experts say that future wars could well be fought over water.

Could abrogate the agreement?

This is unlikely since the treaty has survived three wars between the two countries. Although on Thursday raised the issue, saying that for a treaty to work there had to be "mutual cooperation and trust" between the two sides, this seems to be more pressure tactics than any real threat to review the bilateral agreement. And the idea that can intimidate by threatening to cut of river waters is nothing new. It has arisen before every major conflict. A unilateral abrogation would also attract criticism from world powers, as this is one arrangement which has stood the test of time.

Short of abrogation, can do something?

Some experts have said that if starts making provision for storage facility involving the "western rivers", which it is allowed under the treaty of up to 3.6 million acre feet, this may send a strong message to its neighbour. has often sought arbitration proceedings just on mere impression that may do so, seeking to dissuade its larger neighbour from tinkering with the status quo.
image
Business Standard
177 22

Upgrade To Premium Services

Welcome User

Business Standard is happy to inform you of the launch of "Business Standard Premium Services"

As a premium subscriber you get an across device unfettered access to a range of services which include:

  • Access Exclusive content - articles, features & opinion pieces
  • Weekly Industry/Genre specific newsletters - Choose multiple industries/genres
  • Access to 17 plus years of content archives
  • Set Stock price alerts for your portfolio and watch list and get them delivered to your e-mail box
  • End of day news alerts on 5 companies (via email)
  • NEW: Get seamless access to WSJ.com at a great price. No additional sign-up required.
 

Premium Services

In Partnership with

 

Dear Guest,

 

Welcome to the premium services of Business Standard brought to you courtesy FIS.
Kindly visit the Manage my subscription page to discover the benefits of this programme.

Enjoy Reading!
Team Business Standard