Indus Water Treaty 1

By: Raja Furqan Ahmed

The Indus water is a water-distribution treaty between Pakistan and India which was held on 19th September 1960. This treaty considers being one of the most successful water-sharing attempts in the world. After the independence, the Indus along with the other rivers which include Chenab and Jhelum flows from Jammu and Kashmir comes into Pakistan. On the other side Beas, Sutlej and Ravi have their veins from India. As Pakistan is the Agricultural state. This sector plays a central role in the economy. According to the reports, the Agriculture sector provides around 21 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). So the agriculture sector in Pakistan depends on the flow of that river water. As compared to Pakistan, India has several rivers and water sources to support its agriculture. The water of the Indus River mainly started from the Tibet region of China and flows through the Jammu and Kashmir region and comes into Pakistan before empty in the Arabian Sea. It is joined by the numerous tributaries. The Indus river system has been used for irrigation since the past. During the period of British rule in India, new reforms were done. The large canal system was constructed, whereas old canals were revived. In 1947 British India was partitioned, resulting in the creation of an independent India and Pakistan. The water system was thus divided between them, the headworks in India and the canals running through Pakistan. Later on, there was a short-term Standstill Agreement of 1947, but in 1948 India began withholding water from canals that flowed into Pakistan. The Inter-Dominion Accord of May 4, 1948, required India to provide water to the Pakistani parts of the basin in return for annual payments from the government of Pakistan. In 1948 India cut off the supply in most canals that went to Pakistan but restore it later. 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. Pakistan wanted to take that matter in International Court of Justice (ICJ) but India refused this and arguing that the conflict should solve through bilateralism. The Indian government several times made promises not to intervene and would not go against the due right of Pakistan but in reality, they always moved against promises and many times threatened to cut the flow of the rivers. In September 1950, the Indian government agreed to solve this issue through Arbitration. India also demands that there should be a court in which both members should be from each side and one neutral chairman. The proposal was accepted by Pakistan too. Later on, in 1951, David Lilienthal the former head of Tennessee valley authority (US agency to control floods, improve living standards of a farmer, navigation) and the US atomic energy commission visited the region to write a research article for Collier’s magazine. He has a keen interest in subcontinents region. He wrote that: “No armies with bombs and shellfire could divest a land so thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting up the source of water that keeps the field and the people of Pakistan green” After both states agreed, the chairman of World Bank Eugene Black took this responsibility. He made a committee of both sides to overcome this problem. In his suggestion, engineers from both countries formed a working group with the World Bank offering advice. In 1954 World Bank proposes the solution. Within six years of talks between the two arch-rivals on September 19th, 1960 an agreement was signed between Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani president Ayub Khan in Karachi that is commonly known as Indus Water Treaty. In the agreement, the World Bank divided the whole reservoirs into two parts. Beas, Ravi and Sutlej (Eastern River) rivers were assigned to India while the rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus (western Rivers) were granted to Pakistan. The treaty also helps in financial assistance of building new dams, link canals, and barrages. Some notable work is Tarbela Dam in Indus River and Mangla dam in Jhelum River. Furthermore in the Agreement, it was also decided for the storage of water Pakistan would be helped to build dams, barrages and around seven link canals in which Indian would financially help in the scheme. while the remaining amount would be given by the World Bank, US, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and other friendly states of Pakistan. Moreover under the treaty, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre-feet (MAF), were allocated to India. The waters of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab) averaging to around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for ‘specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India. India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through the run of the river projects on the western rivers which is subject to specific criteria for design and operation is unrestricted.