Indus Waters Treaty

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The Indus Waters Treaty (English) or सिंधु जल संधि (Hindi) or "سندھ طاس معاہدہ" (Urdu) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank to use the water available in the Indus System of Rivers located in India.[1][2][3] The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.[4]

According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three "eastern" rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej with the mean flow of 33 million acre-feet (MAF) — was given to India, while control over the water flowing in three "western" rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum with the mean flow of 80 MAF — was given to Pakistan.[5] More controversial, however, were the provisions on how the waters were to be shared. Since Pakistan's rivers receive more water flow from India, the treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects. The preamble of the treaty declares that the objectives of the treaty are recognizing rights & obligations of each country in settlement of water use from the Indus System of Rivers in a spirit of goodwill, friendship and cooperation contrary to the fears of Pakistan that India could potentially create floods or droughts in Pakistan, especially at times of war since substantial water inflows of the Indus basin rivers are from India.[6][2]

Since the ratification of the treaty in 1960, India and Pakistan have not engaged in any water wars. Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.[7] The treaty is considered to be one of the most successful water sharing endeavours in the world today, even though analysts acknowledge the need to update certain technical specifications and expand the scope of the document to include climate change.[8] As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use (excluding domestic, industrial and non consumptive uses from western rivers) nearly 20% of the total water carried by the Indus System of Rivers while Pakistan can use the remaining.[9][10][11]

Map of the Indus System of Rivers excluding its delta channels and tributaries draining in to Rann of Kutch

Treaty provisions

The Indus System of Rivers comprises three western rivers — the Indus, the Jhelum and Chenab — and three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi. Per Article I of IWT, any river/ tributary and its catchment area of Indus System of Rivers which are not part of other five rivers, is part of Indus river including its creeks, delta channels, connecting lakes, etc. According to this treaty, the eastern rivers are allocated for exclusive water use by India after the permitted water uses in Pakistan before they cross finally into Pakistan. Similarly, Pakistan has exclusive water use of the western rivers after the permitted water uses in India. Article IV (14) of IWT states that any water use developed out of the underutilized waters of other country, will not acquire water use rights due to lapse of time.[12] Mostly, the treaty resulted in partitioning of the rivers rather than sharing of their waters.[13]

Transition period of 10 years was permitted in which India was bound to supply water to Pakistan from its eastern rivers until Pakistan was able to build the canal system for utilization of waters of the western rivers. Per Article 5.1 of IWT, India agreed to make fixed contribution of UK Pound Streling 62,060,000/= (Pound Streling sixty two million and sixty thousand only) towards the cost of construction of new head-works and canal system for irrigation from western rivers in Punjab province of Pakistan.[14] India had to pay this amount in ten equal installments.[15][16][12]

Both countries agreed to exchange data and co-operate in matters related to the treaty. For this purpose, treaty creates the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country. It would follow the set procedure for adjudicating any future differences and disputes arising over the allocation of waters. The Commission has survived three wars and provides an ongoing mechanism for consultation and conflict resolution through inspection, exchange of data and visits. The Commission is required to meet at least once in a year to discuss potential disputes as well as cooperative arrangements for the development of the Indus System of Rivers. Either party must notify the other of plans to construct any engineering works which would affect the other party and to provide data about such works. The annual inspections and exchange of data continue, unperturbed by tensions on the subcontinent. In cases of disagreement, Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) or a neutral technical expert is called in for arbitration. Technical expert's ruling was followed for clearing the Baglihar power plant and PCA verdict was followed for clearing the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant.[17][18][19] Pakistan raising disputes and approaching the PCA/ICA against Indian projects, could result in abolition of the IWT when its detailed provisions are interpreted by the PCA verdicts.[20]

History and background

The waters of the Indus System of Rivers begin mainly in Tibet, Afghanistan, and the Himalayan mountains in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. They flow through the states of Punjab, Balochitan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Sindh, etc before emptying into the Arabian Sea south of Karachi and Kori Creek in Gujarat. Where once there was only a narrow strip of irrigated land along these rivers, developments over the last century have created a large network of canals and storage facilities that provide water for more than 47 million acres (190,000 km2) in Pakistan alone by 2009, one of the largest irrigated area of any one river system.[21]

The partition of British India created a conflict over the plentiful waters of the Indus basin. The newly formed states were at odds over how to share and manage what was essentially a cohesive and unitary network of irrigation. Furthermore, the geography of partition was such that the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India. Pakistan felt its livelihood threatened by the prospect of Indian control over the tributaries that fed water into the Pakistani portion of the basin. Where India certainly had its own ambitions for the profitable development of the basin, Pakistan felt acutely threatened by a conflict over the main source of water for its cultivable land.

During the first years of partition, the waters of the Indus were apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 4, 1948. This accord required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from the government of Pakistan. The accord was meant to meet immediate requirements and was followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. However, neither side was willing to compromise their respective positions and negotiations reached a stalemate. From the Indian point of view, there was nothing that Pakistan could do to prevent India from any of the schemes to divert the flow of water in the rivers.[22] Pakistan wanted to take the matter at that time to the International Court of Justice, but India refused, arguing that the conflict required a bilateral resolution.

World Bank involvement

In this same year, David Lilienthal, formerly the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, visited the region to write a series of articles for Collier's magazine. Lilienthal had a keen interest in the subcontinent and was welcomed by the highest levels of both Indian and Pakistani governments. Although his visit was sponsored by Collier's, Lilienthal was briefed by state department and executive branch officials, who hoped that Lilienthal could help bridge the gap between India and Pakistan and also gauge hostilities on the subcontinent. During the course of his visit, it became clear to Lilienthal that tensions between India and Pakistan were acute, but also unable to be erased with one sweeping gesture. He wrote in his journal:

India and Pakistan were on the verge of war over Kashmir. There seemed to be no possibility of negotiating this issue until tensions abated. One way to reduce hostility . . . would be to concentrate on other important issues where cooperation was possible. Progress in these areas would promote a sense of community between the two nations which might, in time, lead to a Kashmir settlement. Accordingly, I proposed that India and Pakistan work out a program jointly to develop and jointly to operate the Indus Basin river system, upon which both nations were dependent for irrigation water. With new dams and irrigation canals, the Indus and its tributaries could be made to yield the additional water each country needed for increased food production. In the article I had suggested that the World Bank might use its good offices to bring the parties to agreement, and help in the financing of an Indus Development program.[23]:93

Lilienthal's idea was well received by officials at the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and subsequently, by the Indian and Pakistani governments. Eugene R. Black, then president of the World Bank, told Lilienthal that his proposal "makes good sense all round". Black wrote that the Bank was interested in the economic progress of the two countries and had been concerned that the Indus dispute could only be a serious handicap to this development. India's previous objections to third party arbitration were remedied by the Bank's insistence that it would not adjudicate the conflict but rather work as a conduit for agreement.[24]

Black also made a distinction between the "functional" and "political" aspects of the Indus dispute. In his correspondence with Indian and Pakistan leaders, Black asserted that the Indus dispute could most realistically be solved if the functional aspects of disagreement were negotiated apart from political considerations. He envisioned a group that tackled the question of how best to utilize the waters of the Indus Basin, leaving aside questions of historic rights or allocations.

Black proposed a Working Party made up of Indian, Pakistani and World Bank engineers. The World Bank delegation would act as a consultative group, charged with offering suggestions and speeding dialogue. In his opening statement to the Working Party, Black spoke of why he was optimistic about the group's success:

One aspect of Mr. Lilienthal's proposal appealed to me from the first. I mean his insistence that the Indus problem is an engineering problem and should be dealt with by engineers. One of the strengths of the engineering profession is that, all over the world, engineers speak the same language and approach problems with common standards of judgment.[23]:110

Black's hopes for a quick resolution to the Indus dispute were premature. While the Bank had expected that the two sides would come to an agreement on the allocation of waters, neither India nor Pakistan seemed willing to compromise their positions. While Pakistan insisted on its historical right to waters of all the Indus tributaries and that half of West Punjab was under threat of desertification, the Indian side argued that the previous distribution of waters should not set future allocation. Instead, the Indian side set up a new basis of distribution, with the waters of the Western tributaries going to Pakistan and the Eastern tributaries to India. The substantive technical discussions that Black had hoped for were stymied by the political considerations he had expected to avoid.

The World Bank soon became frustrated with this lack of progress. What had originally been envisioned as a technical dispute that would quickly untangle itself started to seem intractable. India and Pakistan were unable to agree on the technical aspects of allocation, let alone the implementation of any agreed upon distribution of waters. Finally, in 1954, after nearly two years of negotiation, the World bank offered its own proposal, stepping beyond the limited role it had apportioned for itself and forcing the two sides to consider concrete plans for the future of the basin. The proposal offered India the three eastern tributaries of the basin and Pakistan the three western tributaries. Canals and storage dams were to be constructed to divert waters from the western rivers and replace the eastern river supply lost by Pakistan.

While the Indian side was amenable to the World Bank proposal, Pakistan found it unacceptable. The World Bank allocated the eastern rivers to India and the western rivers to Pakistan. This new distribution did not account for the historical usage of the Indus basin, or the fact that West Punjab's Eastern districts could turn into desert, and repudiated Pakistan's negotiating position. Where India had stood for a new system of allocation, Pakistan felt that its share of waters should be based on pre-partition distribution. The World Bank proposal was more in line with the Indian plan and this angered the Pakistani delegation. They threatened to withdraw from the Working Party, and negotiations verged on collapse.

However, neither side could afford the dissolution of talks. The Pakistani press met rumors of an end to negotiation with talk of increased hostilities; the government was ill-prepared to forego talks for a violent conflict with India and was forced to reconsider its position.[25][26] India was also eager to settle the Indus issue; large development projects were put on hold by negotiations, and Indian leaders were eager to divert water for irrigation.[27]

In December 1954, the two sides returned to the negotiating table. The World Bank proposal was transformed from a basis of settlement to a basis for negotiation and the talks continued, stop and go, for the next six years.[28]

One of the last stumbling blocks to an agreement concerned financing for the construction of canals and storage facilities that would transfer water from the western rivers to Pakistan. This transfer was necessary to make up for the water Pakistan was giving up by ceding its rights to the eastern rivers. The World Bank initially planned for India to pay for these works, but India refused.[29] The Bank responded with a plan for external financing. An Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement (Karachi, 19 September 1960); a treaty between Australia, Canada, West Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IRDC) and Pakistan who agreed to provide a combination of funds and loans.[30] This solution cleared the remaining stumbling blocks to agreement, and the Indus Waters Treaty was signed by the leaders of both countries on the same day in 1960.[31] The grants and loans to Pakistan were extended in 1964 through a supplementary agreement.[32]

Grants and Loans to Pakistan

Country Currency Original Grant (1960) Supplementaty Grant (1964) Original Loan to Pakistan (1960) Supplementary Loan to Pakistan (1964)
India GB£ 62,060,000 Ten yearly instalments Article 5 of IWT
Australia 6,965,000 4,667,666
Canada Can$ 22,100,000 16,810,794
West Germany DM 126,000,000 80,400,000
New Zealand NZ£ 1,000,000 503,434
United Kingdom GB£ 20,860,000 13,978,571
United States US$ 177,000,000 118,590,000 70,000,000 51,220,000
IRDC Bank US$ 90,000,000 (in various currencies) inc interest[33] 58,540,000 (in various currencies)

Presently, the World Bank role in the treaty is limited to keep the dispute settlement process moving when a party/country is not cooperating to follow the arbitration procedure given in the treaty in case of a dispute.[34][31]

Treaty implications

From the Indus System of Rivers, India got nearly 33 million acre feet (MAF) at 20% whereas Pakistan got nearly 125 MAF at 80%.[35] However India can use the western river waters for irrigation up to 701,000 acres with new water storage capacity not exceeding 1.25 MAF and new storage works with hydro power plants (excluding unlimited run of the river hydro projects) with storage not exceeding 1.6 MAF and nominal flood storage capacity of 0.75 MAF.[8] These water allocations made to the Jammu and Kashmir state of India are meager to meet its irrigation water requirements whereas the treaty permitted enough water to irrigate 80% of the cultivated lands in the Indus river basin of Pakistan.[36][37] The storage capacity permitted by the treaty for hydro power generation is less than the total annual silt that would accumulate in the reservoirs if the total hydro potential of the state was to be exploited fully.[38] Pakistan is also losing additional benefits by not permitting moderate water storage in upstream J&K state whose water would be ultimately released to the Pakistan for its use and avoid few dams requirement in its territory. Ultimately, J&K state is bound to resort to costly de-silting of its reservoirs to keep them operational. Whereas Pakistan is planning to build multi purpose water reservoirs with massive storage for impounding multi year inflows such as 4,500 MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam, 3,600 MW Kalabagh Dam, 600 MW Akhori Dam, Dasu Dam, Bunji Dam, Thakot dam, Patan dam, etc. projects with huge population resettlement.[8] In case of any dam break, downstream areas in Pakistan as well as Kutch region in India would face unprecedented water deluge or submergence as these dams are located in high seismically-active zones.[39]

In 2003 J&K state assembly passed a unanimous resolution for the abrogation of the treaty and again in June 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly demanded for revision of the Indus Water Treaty.[5][40] The legislators feel that the treaty trampled upon the rights of the people and treats the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a non-entity.[41][42][43]

Treaty under scrutiny

The treaty has not considered Gujarat state in India as part of the Indus river basin. The Indus river is entering the Rann of Kutch area and feeding in to Kori Creek during floods. At the time of the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960, the Great Rann of Kutch area was disputed territory between the two nations which was later settled in the year 1968 by sharing total disputed area in 9:1 ratio between India and Pakistan. Without taking consent from India, Pakistan has constructed Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) project passing through the Great Rann of Kutch area with the assistance from the world bank. LBOD's purpose is to bypass the saline and polluted water which is not fit for agriculture use to reach sea via Rann of Kutch area without passing through its Indus delta.[44] Water released by the LBOD is enhancing the flooding in India and contaminating the quality of water bodies which are source of water to salt farms spread over vast area.[45] The LBOD water is planned to join the sea via disputed Sir Creek but LBOD water is entering Indian territory due to many breaches in its left bank caused by floods[46] Gujarat state of India being the lower most riparian part of Indus basin, Pakistan is bound to provide all the details of engineering works taken up by Pakistan to India as per the provisions of the treaty and shall not proceed with the project works till the disagreements are settled by arbitration process.[47][48]

In aftermath of the 2016 Uri attack, India is serious to review the treaty and its provisions and propose several changes if needed.[49][50][51]

See also

Sources

  • Barrett, Scott: Conflict and Cooperation in Managing International Water Resources, Policy Research Working Paper 1303, The World Bank, May 1994.
  • Michel, Aloys Arthur: The Indus Rivers – A Study of the Effects of Partition, Yale University Press: New Haven, 1967.
  • Verghese, B.G.: Waters of Hope, Oxford and IBH Publishing: New Delhi, 1990.
  • Indus Waters Treaty: an exercise in international mediation by Niranjan Das Gulhati [1]

References

  1. ^ "Preamble of Indus water treaty" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Full text of 'Indus Water Treaty' with Annexures, World Bank" (PDF). 1960. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ "War over water". The Guardian. 3 June 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  4. ^ "How the Indus Treaty was signed". Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Indo-Pak and Hydro-politics". Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Indus Water Treaty: Review is not an Option". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Indus Water Treaty: Options for India" (PDF). Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "The Indus Equation Report" (PDF). Strategic Foresight Group. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  9. ^ C.A. Brebbia (4 September 2013). Water and Society II. WIT Press. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-1-84564-742-1.
  10. ^ Map Workbook. FK Publications. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-81-89611-79-8.
  11. ^ Roy Chowdhury, Biswaroop. Memory Unlimited. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-81-8419-017-5.
  12. ^ a b "Indus Waters Treaty 1960" (pdf). Site Resources; World Bank. pp. 1–24.
  13. ^ "Water Sharing Conflicts Between Countries, and Approaches to Resolving Them" (PDF). Honolulu: Global Environment and Energy in the 21st century. p. 98. Archived from the original (pdf) on August 21, 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  14. ^ "The struggle for power over Indus". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  15. ^ Shreyan, Sengupta. "Transboundary water disputes" (PDF). ETH Zurich. ETH Zurich. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  16. ^ Garg, Santosh Kumar (1999). International and interstate river water disputes. Laxmi Publications. pp. 54–55. ISBN 81-7008-068-1. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  17. ^ "Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant: Expert Determination" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  18. ^ "The Baglihar difference and its resolution process - a triumph for the Indus Waters Treaty?" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Verdict of Permanent Court of Arbitration on Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant". 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Pakistan to take Kishanganga Dam dispute to International Court of Arbitration". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Pakistan: Indus Basin Water Strategy – Past, Present and Future" (PDF). Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  22. ^ "What Indus water treaty means". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  23. ^ a b Gulhati, Niranjan D., The Indus Waters Treaty: An Exercise in International Mediation, Allied Publishers: Bombay, 1973.
  24. ^ Mason, Edward Sagendorph; Asher, Robert E. (1973). The World Bank Since Bretton Woods (First ed.). Wawshington: The Brookings Institution. p. 612. ISBN 9780815720300. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  25. ^ "War on Indus waters?". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Friends Not Masters - A Political Autobiography By President Ayub Khan (pages 109 to 112)". 1967. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  27. ^ "India and Pakistan: An Atlantic report". 1960. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Indus Waters Treaty: View From Kashmir". 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  29. ^ "Water Rationality: Mediating the Indus Waters Treaty" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  30. ^ http://www3.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1961/2.html
  31. ^ a b "Indus water treaty". World Bank. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  32. ^ http://www3.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1964/14.html
  33. ^ "Development Credit Agreement, World Bank" (PDF). Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  34. ^ Last page of the Indus Water Treaty
  35. ^ "India generous with its shared water resources". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  36. ^ "Geography of Jammu and Kashmir State". Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  37. ^ "Legislative Assembly rejects PDP resolution". Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  38. ^ "Harnessing gigantic hydro power potential of Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers in India". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  39. ^ "Pakistan's Indus Cascade - a disaster in the making". Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  40. ^ "Finally, J&K hires consultant to quantify Indus Water Treaty losses". Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  41. ^ "State all for scrapping of Indo-Pak water treaty". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  42. ^ "Sustaining energy and food security in trans-boundary river system: case of Indus basin". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  43. ^ "Review Indus water treaty: Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) PM to Islamabad". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  44. ^ "Revisiting the LBOD issue". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  45. ^ "Indus re-enters India after two centuries, feeds Little Rann, Nal Sarovar". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  46. ^ "Evolution of the Delta, the LBOD outfall system and the Badin dhands - chapters 3 & 4" (PDF). World Bank. 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  47. ^ "India, Pakistan agree on IWT mandated tours to both sides of Indus basin". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  48. ^ "Wrangles over water: Pakistan wages a water war on India". Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  49. ^ How India plans to use Indus Water Treaty to turn the heat on Pakistan
  50. ^ "Narendra Modi lays groundwork for water war in battle with Pakistan". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  51. ^ "Use Indus waters to brought Pak to India's knees". Retrieved 21 September 2018.

External links

  • [2] Ali, Saleem H. "Water Politics in South Asia: Technocratic Cooperation in the Indus basin and beyond." Journal of International Affairs, Spring, 2008.
  • Indus Waters Treaty:The World Bank The actual brokers of the Treaty World Bank and the detailed website.
  • Indus Water Treaty Importance Analysis and Indo pak relation.
  • Bibliography Water Resources and International Law See Indus River. Peace Palace Libray
  • The Indus Waters Treaty: A History. Henry L. Stimson Center.
  • The Politics of Indo-Pak Water-Sharing. Young Bhartiya.
  • A. Misra (19 July 2010). India-Pakistan: Coming Terms. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-0-230-10978-0.
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