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Indus Waters Treaty: India opposes Pakistan’s step seeking “external” arbitration

Indus Waters Treaty: India expressed concern over the World Bank’s decision to proceed with two separate procedures regarding a disagreement with Pakistan over two hydropower projects on transborder rivers. India claimed this decision is not in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.

Notice served to Pakistan

On Thursday, January 25, India notified Pakistan of its desire to renegotiate the 62-year-old treaty, which was brokered by the World Bank for managing cross-border rivers. The reason for this move was due to Pakistan’s persistent refusal to resolve disputes, leading to questions about the integrity of the treaty. In the notice, India wants Pakistan to acknowledge the breaches of the treaty’s provisions within 90 days. This process will also allow for updating the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Despite three wars and cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, this treaty has remained intact.

Prolonged tussle

This is the latest development in a prolonged tussle between India and Pakistan, which began in 1988. The conflict started when India planned the Kishanganga hydropower project on a Jhelum River tributary. The Jhelum is one of the three western tributaries of the Indus that are designated for Pakistan’s use under the Indus Waters Treaty.

Demands of the treaty

India is permitted to construct projects, but not to restrict water flow on these rivers, unlike the three eastern tributaries of the Indus. According to the Indus Waters Treaty, India must notify Pakistan of the design plans for any projects it builds on the western tributaries to ensure they do not block the flow of water into Pakistan.

Pakistan seeks interference by World Bank

India took the important step of informing Pakistan of its intention to revise the treaty by sending a notice, months after the World Bank declared the appointment of a neutral expert and the chair of the Court of Arbitration to settle the disputes regarding the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects. New Delhi was notably unhappy with the appointment of the Court of Arbitration.

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