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August 15, 2019

India making Indus Waters Treaty ineffective

Top Story

August 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As tension escalates between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue, New Delhi has initiated a water war and its attempts to circumvent the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 are also becoming visible.

The Pakistan Commission of Indus Water (PCIW) has to this effect sensitised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Indian attempts to make the treaty ineffective. The treaty ensures the water rights of lower riparian country — Pakistan — and if it is not implemented by the upper riparian — India — then it may lead to serious escalation of tension between two countries.

Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehar Ali Shah told The News that despite Pakistan’s repeated requests, the Indian side has not supplied advanced flood information to Pakistan, which was supposed to be supplied from 1st July to 10th October in accordance with the agreement of 1989 made by the Pakistani and Indian commissioners. He said Pakistan has made repeated requests to India on various aspects under the treaty, which were stalled by India since long.

He said Pakistan’s request to India for a Special Tour of Inspection of the Kishenganga hydroelectric plant and other projects in Jhelum basin remains stalled since 2014 despite a series of correspondence. He clarified that the Indian side while denying Pakistan its right to conduct the Special Tour of Inspection refers to adverse weather conditions or similar other constraints.

The Pakistan's commissioner also stated that the General Tour of Inspection was arranged by India for Pakistan’s delegation on its side in February this year, which was again inordinately delayed. Shah also said the issue of non-provision of advanced flood information by India was also brought in the knowledge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a request to take it up with the Indian government through regular diplomatic channels.

Shah said the treaty could only be implemented if both countries fulfilled their obligations and the rights enshrined therein remain safeguarded in letter and spirit. “Whenever the implementation of provisions of Treaty gets circumvented or delayed for one reason or the other, the treaty gets stressed which will have serious implications.

In the wake of recent denial of India to supply advanced information to Pakistan apropos 1989 agreement, I have expressed deep concern especially in the backdrop of not permitting Pakistan to visit Kishenganga Dam in accordance with the rights given to both the countries under Article VIII (4) (d) and the other fundamental issues which are pending resolution," he said. He said true implementation of the treaty is the lifeline for Pakistan and in case of non-implementation, it will have direct implications for Pakistan’s food security and its agrarian economy would consequently suffer which is not acceptable at any cost.

The Pakistan's commissioner said it is in the benefit of both the countries to implement the provisions of the treaty in letter and spirit as water is too sensitive a subject on which there should be no politics, particularly when both the countries had resolved water sharing by signing the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960. "If the treaty implementation remains suspended, the option of taking the next course of action cannot be ruled out," he added.