Indus water treaty notice to Pakistan

Why in the news?

  • India has issued a notice to Islamabad seeking modification of the 62-year-old IWT (Indus Waters Treaty). On January 25, the notice was issued. 
  • The notice has been sent regarding the "intransigence" in implementing the treaty, raising objections to the construction of hydel projects on the Indian side. 
  • The notice has invoked IWT's Article XII (3), which deals with the treaty's final provisions and is referenced in the notice as being modified.
  • Ninety days are given to Pakistan to consider the intergovernmental negotiations to rectify the material breach of the treaty. 

What is the Indus Water Treaty?

  • It is the water-sharing agreement between India and Pakistan.
  • It grants Pakistan a significantly larger proportion of the waters from the six rivers. 
  • In 1948, India blocked Pakistan's water supply and restored it after the ceasefire.
  • In 1951, the matter was taken to the UN, which accused India of cutting the water supply to many Pakistani villages.
  • In 1954, on the recommendation of the UN, the World Bank came up with the agreement. 
  • It was signed on September 16 1960.
  • The World Bank handled the negotiations. 
  • Tibet is where the Indus River rises. 
  • Since India was partitioned in 1947, the Indus River's runs through India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan have been the source of conflict between the four nations. 

Hydroelectric projects in India

  • The notice is the fallout of the longstanding dispute over two hydroelectric projects that India is doing–
    • Kishenganga and Ratle hydropower projects in J&K and 
    • The other project on Chenab
  • Although Pakistan has frequently objected to these projects, no agreement has been reached. 

What are the Indus Water Treaty issues?

  • Concerns about the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power projects being built in Jammu and Kashmir by India were raised by Pakistan in a 2016 letter to the World Bank. 
    • Then, India requested that impartial experts examine the plants, claiming that Pakistan's concerns were technical and did not call for an arbitration court (even though Pakistan had already filed a claim with one).
    •  Following the conclusion of negotiations between the two nations regarding the specifics of the treaty, the World Bank granted India permission to move forward with the projects.
    • During this time, calls for leaving the IWT spread throughout India as a result of the terrorist attack in Uri, which Pakistan supported.
  • The Rann of Kutch is located in Gujarat, India, traversed by Pakistan's Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) project. 
    • India has objected, claiming that this violates the IWT, as it was not consulted before construction. 
    • Given that the lower riparian state is in India, all information must be provided. The threat of flooding in Gujrat is also there. 
  • The IWT has also been criticized for being signed by the then-prime minister Nehru on behalf of India. He was not the head of state, and the treaty should have been signed by the country's president at the time, who was.
  • In 2021, Pakistan objected to the massive 624 MW project over the Chenab river in Jammu & Kashmir, claiming that the dam violated the Indus Water Treaty.
    • The Indian government claimed that the dam's construction adhered to the treaty's predetermined guidelines. 

 A riparian state is located next to a river.

What are the implications of India's notice?

  • The implications of modifying the treaty have yet to be made clear. 
  • Article XII (3) of the IWT is a procession to amend the treaty, not a dispute resolution mechanism. Nevertheless, the amendment can happen only through a "duly ratified Treaty concluded for that purpose between the two governments".
  • As of now, it is still being determined what will happen after 90 days because Pakistan is under no obligation to agree to the proposal of India.
  • Article XII (4) outlines a similar process for ending the treaty: "a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two governments." 
  • India has made it clear what it wants to be modified, but since the Uri attack, there has been an increase in demand for India to use IWT as a tactical tool.
    • Being the upper riparian state has its benefits for India.
  • India has yet to use its full control over the waters of the three east-flowing rivers under IWT.
    • Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej
  • India has yet to makeused its limited rights over the three west-flowing rivers intended for Pakistan.
    • Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab
  • Following the Uri attack, India created a high-level task force to utilize the treaty's full potential. 


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