Due to the dispute between India-Pakistan on the border, relations often remain tense at the international level, which also directly affects the trade between the two countries. This tension increases as the activities of Pakistan infiltration and ceasefire violations increase and people start demanding import-export from Pakistan. Similar demands were also raised when a CRPF convoy was attacked in Pulwama (Pulwama) and about 40 soldiers were martyred. Amidst these voices, some people were demanding the cancellation of the ‘Indus Water Treaty’. Now the question is that till the withdrawal of ‘Most Favored Nation’ status from Pakistan, things are understandable, but what is this ‘Indus Water Agreement’ which has kept the two countries connected?
Kanwal Sibal, who was the foreign secretary in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, said that to teach Pakistan a lesson, India should abolish the ‘Indus Water Agreement’. According to many experts, coming out of this agreement is not as easy for either of the two countries as it seems. According to former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan, G. Parthasarathy, India needs water to meet the hydro-electric energy requirement in Jammu and Kashmir, so it is not so easy to break the ‘Indus Water Treaty. At the same time, former Foreign Secretary of India, Muchakund Dubey said that the cancellation of this treaty could deprive Pakistan of its rights but it could lead to a big controversy.
Pakistan on backfoot in agreement
In the past years, whenever the tension between India and Pakistan has increased, the ‘Indus Water Agreement’ has come up for discussion. Water is an important link in the relationship between the two countries. After the Uri attack in Kashmir, the water dispute meeting in Delhi was canceled. On this, a Pakistani newspaper wrote that the possibilities of using water as a weapon are increasing from India.
According to the ‘Express Tribune’, the ‘water dispute’ between India and Pakistan is bigger than other disputes, which is due to ‘climate change. Pakistan’s newspapers consider their country on the back foot on the water dispute. According to the Urdu newspaper, ‘Daily Express’ Pakistan should continue talks on water dispute and defend its interests.
Where did the ‘Indus Water Accord’ story begin?
Let us know that the ‘Indus Water Agreement’ is an important point of water dispute between the two countries. The story behind this agreement begins before the India-Pakistan partition. During British rule, large canals were built in the Indus river valley. After the construction of this area, this water got so much benefit that it became a major area of agriculture in South Asia. Greenfields that had no water shortage. Partition eclipsed this picture.
Due to the line between India and Pakistan, Punjab also split into two parts – East Punjab which came into India and West Punjab which became part of Pakistan. Therefore, the big canals built by the British were also divided, but Pakistan became completely dependent on India for this water flowing through India. In order to ensure water for Pakistan and to continue the flow, an agreement was reached between the chief engineers of Punjab of the two countries.
The agreement signed in Karachi
Under this agreement reached on 20 December 1947, India will have to continue to provide the portion of water decided before Partition to Pakistan till 31 March 1948. India followed the agreement and Pakistan continued to get water. On 1 April 1948, when the agreement expired, the water in both the canals was stopped. Now the appearance of the agriculturally rich area of Pakistan started deteriorating and 17 lakh acres of land started moving rapidly towards drought. Many believe that India did this to keep the pressure on Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. However, under a later agreement, India lifted the ban on water.
In 1951, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, David Lilienthal, who travelled to India and later to Pakistan, returned to America and wrote an article on the sharing of the Indus River deficit. World Bank chief David Black read this article and contacted India and Pakistan in this regard and the process of meetings between the two countries started. After a decade-long run, the ‘Indus River Valley Agreement’ was signed in Karachi on 19 September 1960.
What was the agreement made in the agreement?
Now the question is, what was agreed between the two countries in this agreement? According to the BBC report, G. Parthasarathy said that in this agreement the rivers of the Indus river valley have been divided into two parts, eastern and western. In the agreement, it was agreed to use the waters of Jhelum and Chenab (western rivers) by Pakistan and the water of Ravi, Vyas and Sutlej (eastern rivers) by India.
The agreement gave India the right to fully utilize the waters of the eastern rivers. At the same time, India also got limited rights to use the water of western rivers for agriculture and electricity-making works. Under the agreement, the two countries agreed on negotiations and site inspections. An Indus Commission was also established, under which the commissioners of both countries can meet and discuss any contentious issue.
The agreement said that if a project is being worked on by one country and the other country has objections to it, then a meeting will be held between the two and the first country will respond to it. If the meeting is not resolved, the governments of both countries will have to come forward and intervene and resolve the dispute. Apart from this, the opinion of experts can also be taken on disputed issues or there is a provision to go to the ‘Court of Arbitration.
Disputes continue to arise due to agreement
In fact, Pakistan has objections to India’s Pakal (1,000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) water electric projects. At the same time, according to Parthasarathy, Kashmir is not able to fully utilize its water resources. Former Chief Minister of Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti had said during his tenure that J&K is suffering a loss of 20 thousand crores due to the Indus Water Agreement, which the Central Government will have to take steps to compensate.
Pakistan has also raised objections to the ‘Tulbul Project’. Former Cabinte Secretary of India Naresh Chandra told the BBC that the proposed Tulbul project in Kashmir was said to stop the rainwater which is against this agreement as water can be used as per that agreement As his stream flows continuously. However, they consider it a ‘successful’ agreement between the two countries.
India or Pakistan, who can break the agreement?
Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan commissioner of the Indus River Valley Agreement from 1993 to 2011, while speaking to the BBC said that no country can unilaterally break this agreement nor change it. Together India and Pakistan can change it or make a new agreement.
However, according to the author Brahma Chellani, under Section 62 of the Law of Treaties of the Vienna Agreement, India can break this agreement by saying that Pakistan is using extremist forces against it because the International Court says that if the basic conditions change Any treaty can be terminated.
Muchkund Dubey said that after the partition between the two countries, when Pakistan needed water, this agreement was mediated by the World Bank. So if India takes steps against this agreement, then Pakistan will make a request to the World Bank and the World Bank can put pressure on India. This can cause tension in relations between the World Bank and its member countries.