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PM Reviews Indus Water Treaty; India Suspends Talks
Sep 28, 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 26 chaired a meeting to review the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan amidst heightened tension between the two countries.  National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, the Water Resources Secretary, and senior PMO officials were present at the meeting.

The review is being undertaken as India weighs options to give a befitting response to Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack that left 18 soldiers dead.

There have been consistent calls in India that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of the terror attack.

  • Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six rivers—Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum—were to be shared between the two countries.
  • Pakistan has been complaining of not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in couple of cases.
  • The Indus water treaty put an end to a 12-year tussle for water sharing from the Indus system of rivers.
  • Pakistan gets 80 per cent of water from the Indus.
  • The system has three eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and their tributaries—and equal number of western rivers—Indus, Jhelum and Chenab along with their tributaries.
  • Under the agreement, waters from the eastern rivers are allocated to India.
  • India is under obligation to let flow the waters of the Western Rivers. The exceptions in this case are for—domestic use, non-consumptive use, agricultural use and generation of hydroelectric power.

Several experts have contended that farming the waters flowing in the western tributaries through ‘run of the river’ will not put India into a legal trouble and it would not constitute violation of the treaty. These waters can be used for irrigating farmland and for production of hydroelectric power.

India-Pakistan relations have taken a bitter form after the terrorist attack on the Uri base that killed 19 Indian soldiers. Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism has forced India into taking pressure tactics as the government reiterates strategic restraint. Meanwhile, Pakistan has washed its hands off the issue and denied having any hand in the attack and termed the attack as an act of rebellion from Kashmiri militants despite compelling evidence that it was carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist groups.


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