Indus Water Treaty

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  • National Security Policy of Pakistan: Acknowledging Climate and Water Stress

    Outlining Pakistan’s vision and global engagement in the context of strategic and security trends, the recently released National Security Policy of Pakistan also acknowledges a serious need for a robust water management mechanism and an inclusive climate change policy.

    March 02, 2022

    Deactivating the Permanent Indus Waters Commission

    It is in India’s interests to continue to adhere to the Treaty provisions and try to obtain maximum benefit by subscribing to it.

    October 03, 2016

    Riverine Neighbourhood: Hydro-politics in South Asia

    • Publisher: Pentagon Press

    Rivers are the most visible form of fresh water. Rivers are ancient and older than civilizations a ‘mini cosmos’ spawning history, tales, spirituality, and technological incursions. Flowing rivers are the largest renewable water resource as well as a crucible for both humans and aquatic ecosystem.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-914-6,
    • Price: ₹. 895
    • E-copy available

    The ‘Sir Creek’ Dispute: Contours, Implications and the Way Ahead

    Sir Creek, the 17th and last drainage branch of the river Indus, is a meandering riverine feature approximately 92 km (50 NM) long in the low-lying marshy region of Rann of Kutch. The Sir Creek boundary dispute between India and Pakistan is rooted in differing interpretations of the 1914 resolution passed by the Government of Bombay (GoB) or Bombay Residency.

    March 2015

    V Krishnakanth Vellanki: Is there any problem if India signs a water treaty with China on Brahmaputra River, similar to the water treaty with Nepal and other neighbouring countries?

    Uttam Kumar Sinha replies: A treaty can only be signed if the other party (in this case China) wants to have a one. China has not signed on the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of Watercourses Treaty. Beijing has shown reluctance to enter into any formal arrangement with its neighbouring countries on trans-boundary rivers. In the Mekong River Commission, it is an observer. With no formal arrangement, China has the latitude to use water as a trade-off or a bargaining tool. The water resource ministry of both the countries signed a MoU in 2002 on specific data and information sharing. However, India should continue to insist on water dialogue with China and raise the issue of rivers and flow concerns at various levels of interaction.

    Will the Indus Water Treaty Survive?

    The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is the most significant confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan. Despite the wars and hostilities, the IWT has functioned well since it was signed in 1960. However, one cannot ignore the challenges of future supplies of fresh water between the two countries. The article delves into a historical account of how the treaty came about, the salient features of the treaty and examines whether ‘water rationality’ will continue to govern the riparian relationship or whether ‘water sharing’ will open up a new front of contentious politics.

    September 2012

    Abhas asked: What could be the regional implications if India decides to renegotiate the Indus Water Treaty?

    Uttam Kumar Sinha replies: After the partition in 1947 it was inevitable that the water sharing needed immediate attention. After 8-years of painstaking negotiations, the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) was signed in 1960. The Treaty was voluntarily accepted by the two sides as ‘fair and equitable’. The Treaty clearly lays out provisions and restrictions for the upper riparian and thus safeguards the lower riparian interest. India respects and values the Treaty and abides by it and Pakistan can seek the services of a neutral expert or court of arbitration on issues where it feels India is ‘not respecting’ the Treaty. India also considers the IWT as an important mechanism for regional cooperation. So, clearly there is no real value in renegotiation.

    Pakistan in spite of all the noises it makes domestically about India ‘stealing waters’ or ‘waging water war’ will also not seek renegotiation. Pakistan can ‘talk’ about water ‘needs’ but cannot ‘negotiate’ about water ‘rights’. The IWT has settled it. But if Pakistan wants to negotiate, it would mean scrapping the IWT and formulating an entirely new one. It knows that it cannot get a better and generous treaty as the IWT. But India can be pushed to abrogate the IWT if Pakistan, for example, continues to abet terrorism. This will be a huge political decision based on consensus. However, Article VII of the Treaty, which deals with future co-operation, recognises the common interest of both sides in the optimum development of the rivers. This is the direction that Pakistan should move towards and work with India on it.

    Water Security for India: The External Dynamics

    Water Security for India: The External Dynamics
    • Publisher: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

    India is facing a serious water resource problem and as trends suggest, it is expected to become 'water stressed' by 2025 and 'water scarce' by 2050. Premised on this, this IDSA Report raises fundamental questions about the forces driving water demand and the political dynamics of riparian relations, both in terms of hindrances and opportunities, amongst states in the subcontinent.

    • ISBN 81-86019-83-9 ,
    • Price: ₹. 350/-
    • E-copy available

    China Builds Dam on Indus near Ladakh

    The tail-end of Indus receives so little water that today Sindh's agriculture faces extinction. Further reduction of water will increase salinity, land erosion and sea-flooding that will severely damage the Indus delta. As a consequence, rise in water table may flood cities like Karachi and Thattha. The impact of water shortage on aquatic wildlife will be detrimental.

    April 2010

    50 Years of the Indus Water Treaty: An Evaluation

    Rivers are more than what Samuel T. Coleridge poetically expressed in Kubla Khan: ‘meandering with mazy motion’ and falling into the ‘sunless sea’. Rivers are life-givers, carrying a mystic and sacred quality about them. That they are oft described as being ‘mighty’—the mighty Amazon; the mighty Nile; the mighty Brahamaputra; the mighty Murray; the mighty Mississippi and Missouri—is hardly mystifying. Civilizations have grown around it and flourished. In contemporary politics the salience of rivers cannot be overlooked both in terms of being drivers of cooperation and conflict.

    September 2010