Indus Waters Treaty Current Affairs

India can construct Kishanganga, Ratle Hydro Power Plants: World Bank

World Bank has allowed India to construct Kishanganga, Ratle hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

The World Bank’s comments came as officials from India and Pakistan concluded the secretary-level talks on the technical issues of the IWT in Washington, US.

Key Facts

Pakistan had opposed the construction of the Kishanganga (Jhelum River) and Ratle (Chenab River) hydroelectric power plants built by India in Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries had disagreed over the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants, as these two rivers are part of “Western Rivers” along with Indus River under. IWT has given Pakistan full control over these three western rivers for unrestricted use. Besides, it also allows India to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers along with other uses, subject to constraints specified in annexures to the treaty.

Background

Due differences over these projects, Pakistan had asked World Bank to facilitate the setting up of a Court of Arbitration to look into its concerns. On the other hand, India had asked for the appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issues, citing that concerns raised by Pakistan were “technical” ones. After that, representatives of the World Bank had held talks with India and Pakistan to find a way out separately.

About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan which was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). It deals with sharing of water of Indus water system having six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.

It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960. It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990.

As per treaty, control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan. It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus river, which flows through it first, for irrigation, power generation and transport.

Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty. Under it, Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing. Besides, treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably. The World Bank’s role in relation to “disputes” and “differences” with respect of IWT is limited to the designation of people to fulfil certain roles when requested by either or both of the parties.

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Pakistan warns India against breaching Indus Water Treaty

Pakistan has warned India that it will take appropriate action if India violates the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) unilaterally.

It also mentioned that it was closely monitoring the situation after India decided to suspend all talks with Pakistan on IWT in the wake of the Uri attack.

Why Indus River is important for Pakistan?

Around 65% of the Pakistan’s geographical area including entire Pakistan’s Punjab province is part of Indus basin. The water of Indus River is lifeline of Pakistan and is source of irrigation, hydro power and drinking water for millions of Pakistanis. If the water from rivers is stopped by India it can surely cut lifeline of Pakistan.

What is Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)?

  • IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan which was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
  • The treaty deals with sharing of water of Indus water system having six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.
  • It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960.
  • As per treaty, control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan.
  • It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus river, which flows through it first, for irrigation, power generation and transport.
  • Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.
  • Under it Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing. Besides, treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
  • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing
  • It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990.indus-water-treaty
For more information: Recent clamour about abrogation of Indus Water Treaty

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