India’s notice to Pakistan for amendment in 1962 Indus Water Treaty (IWT)


As we all know that India has had an Indus Water Treaty from 1960 which is about the river distribution between India and Pakistan. The treaty was signed in September 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan. The rivers which were distributed were Indus, Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. The broker of the treaty is the World Bank. This Article is about the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan and the notice sent to Pakistan from India, how the treaty happened between India and Pakistan and what rivers they got in the treaty. It is about the notice which was sent by India on 25th January 2023 to Pakistan for the modification in the treaty with a request to respond in 90 days.

Indus Water Treaty, a treaty signed between India and Pakistan on 19
September,1960 and brokered by the World Bank. The treaty is about the fixed and delimited rights and obligations of both countries concerning the use of waters of the Indus River System. The Indus river rises in the southern western Tibet Autonomous region of China and flows through the disputed Kashmir region and then into Pakistan to drain into the Arabian Sea. It is joined by numerous tributaries, notably those of the eastern Punjab plain- the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers.

Flows of river in India and Pakistan
1. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is also home to the main Indus river, along with the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers.
2. Pakistan’s agricultural sector is entirely dependent on the flow of these key water reservoirs. On the other side India has several other rivers and water sources to sustain its agricultural setup.
3. India officials planned that rivers flowing into Pakistan would be given to India from the 1st day of Independence. As a result, dams should be constructed over the rivers that flow from India into Pakistan.
4. It wasn’t long after the division of east and west Punjab that the water distribution conflict turned into crises. Because of the division of Punjab, Pakistan became the lower riparian state.
5. Six months after independence on April 1, 1948 India shut off water of river Ravi and Sutlej to Pakistan.

Pakistan Water Issue
● After the shut off of Ravi and Sutlej to Pakistan, they suffered severe water shortages and agricultural disaster. It was regarded as a vital source of income for Pakistan.
● A Pakistani delegation was sent to India to resolve the issue. India rejected the Pakistani’s delegation’s proposal to solve the problem through a world bank because that was also unacceptable to Indian leaders because Pakistan was trying to solve the issue on the table.

Indus Water Treaty (IWT)
● In the early 1950s, the Indian Government decided to settle the dispute but required that there would be a committee consisting of two members from each side and a neutral chairperson. The idea was also liked by Pakistan.
● Eugene Black, the former World Bank’s director of construction and development, convened a joint committee of both sides to solve this dilemma. The search for a solution to this significant issue between the two arch adversaries dragged on for years, with each day passing like a year. The Indus Water Treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960.
● Former Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and former President of Pakistan Ayub Khan signed the Indus river treaty in September 1960 in karachi. It was known as the Indus basin treaty.
● This treaty established the permanent Indus Commission, which comprises a commissioner from both countries, as a vehicle for collaboration and information sharing between the two countries over their use of the rivers.
● The participation of the world bank as a signatory to the Indus basin treaty is limited and procedural.
● The rivers given to India were the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan got Chenab, Jhelum and Indus.
● The world bank, The United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other friendly states of Pakistan agreed to contribute 200 million dollars to help Pakistan to build dams, barrages, canals etc. for water storage.

Main points of Treaty
1. The Indus system of river comprises the main river and its tributaries, namely Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum, and Chenab.
2. The treaty provides India absolute control of all the waters of the eastern rivers – Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas.
3. Pakistan shall receive for unrestricted use of all the rivers of the western riversIndus, Jhelum, and Chenab.
4. India is permitted to use the waters of the western rivers for domestic use, non-consumption use agriculture and generation of hydro-electric power subject to certain Conditions

Notice to Pakistan
● The Government had written to Pakistan on January 25, calling for modification to the treaty as Article XII(3) of the Indus Water Treaty which deals with the ‘final provision’ of the treaty.
● The objective of the notice for modification is to provide Pakistan an opportunity to enter into intergovernmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of the Indus Water Treaty. This process will also update the treaty to incorporate the lessons over the last 62 years.
● This move of India was linked to Pakistan’s action since 2015 in handling disputes related to Kishenganga and Ratle Hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir.The pact has a graded mechanism to handle such issues. The two Indus waters Commissioners who will resolve the disputes. In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally proposed that an arbitration court adjudicate on its objections.
● In 2016, taking cognizance of this, the world bank had recommended to stop the process from both sides and find an amicable solution. The Unilateral decision taken by Pakistan for Hydropower projects violates Article XI of the Indus water Treaty. This article is about graded mechanisms as discussed above.
● The two countries thus appointed their Commissioners as requested by India in accordance with the treaty. The two countries met 5 times between 2017-2022. Pakistan objected to India’s Hydropower projects on the western rivers.
The notice which was sent by India for the modification of the treaty, the officials still haven’t told about what modification they want.

The notice sent to Pakistan by India’s official with a request to respond within 90 days, is a major step and can also result in renegotiation in the water sharing treaty. It was seen as a rare example of India and Pakistan consensus as the two countries have snapped the trade and cultural exchanges. The officials haven’t said what kind of amendment they want in the treaty.
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