By admin February 22, 2019 05:33

No water for Pakistan

In a stern message to Pakistan New Delhi has decided to stop the flow of its share of water to Pakistan from rivers under the Indus Waters Treaty. The announcement was made on 21 February by Union minister Nitin Gadkari after the attack generated series of strong reactions across the country.

Similar demands or to say sentiments to stop the flow of India’s share of Indus water to Pakistan were echoed after the Uri terror attack in 2016.

Now, after announcing the stopping of water to flow its share to Pakistan the government has also reiterated that water would be diverted from eastern rivers to Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

Indus Water treaty

  • The Indus Water Treaty is a water sharing mechanism between two countries that came into being in the year 1960.
  • The system comprises of main Indus River and five other rivers that flowed in undivided India- Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.
  • Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of three rivers, namely Ravi, Sutlej and Beas, also termed as Eastern Rivers, were allocated to India for exclusive use while the waters of Western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab were allocated to Pakistan.
  • Only 20% of the total waters were allocated to India while 80% of the share went to Pakistan.
  • India was allowed to make some use of the western rivers other than for consumption for purposes like navigation, irrigation, fisheries etc.

Magnanimity of India

  • Though India was given full control over Eastern rivers, India had not stopped any flow of water to Pakistan.
  • India had provided 62 million pounds to construct dams in Pakistan as part of the IWT treaty.

Issues of contention

  • The building of hydro power projects has been a major source of contention between India and Pakistan.
  • In 1970s, Pakistan objected to building the Salal dam by India which eventually took 26 years for the project to be completed.
  • Likewise, the Tulbul navigation remains suspended since 1987.
  • Baglihar project issue was solved through a neutral expert
  • Kishanganga had been taken to the International Court of Justice and the court ruled in India’s favour


  • The treaty was designed according to the needs and issues in the 1950s. It does not address the problems that arise in 2019, some of them being
    • the huge population boom- about more 200 million people are dependent on Indus rivers
    • urbanisation
    • commercialisation
    • industrialisation
  • 17% of the water that Pakistan receives is from Kabul river which is not mentioned in the IWT
  • An arrangement between Afghanistan and Pakistan and India’s increasing participation in Afghanistan could trigger a response from China due to China-Pak nexus.
  • Indus waters have two more stakeholders, Afghanistan and China which are not part of the arrangement.
  • Pakistan deliberately delays the projects in Jammu and Kashmir raising its cost and frustrating India on the water development programme.


  • This is the first time Indian government is stopping waters from the eastern rivers to Pakistan.
  • This step is being taken in a sensitive stage of India Pakistan relations

Impact on Pakistan

  • The measure will not have any significant impact on Pakistan as presently only a very small amount of water is going to Pakistan.
  • India is trying to impose pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attacks to constrain it economically to condemn terrorism emanating from its territory.

Way forward

  • The projects on the eastern rivers and the western rivers need to be started earnestly.
  • The media exaggeration that violating the IWT can trigger a nuclear war is inciting the people.
  • Awareness should be generated on how the IWT was formulated and its provisions regarding the share of the rivers.
  • India should sensitise the Kashmiri people on the delay of the projects deliberately caused by Pakistan.
  • A revised IWT with the inclusion of China and Afghanistan and new challenges like global warming should be brought out.

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By admin February 22, 2019 05:33