India and Pakistan have a past filled with war, tension and strife. In any case, one agreement that had stood the test of time was the Indus Water Treaty. Viewed as one of the ‘most successful treaties in the world’, India and Pakistan had genially conceded to the Treaty. However, the recent clashes have strained the 57 year long Indus Water Treaty.
After much debate and dialogue, the Indus Water Treaty was signed by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan in 1960. The World Bank played a major role in development of the arrangement. Around the same time, a Permanent Indus Commission was set up to sort out any differences, that may arise, while the working of the bargain.
As per the treaty, India has access to the Eastern Rivers that is, The Beas, The Ravi and The Sutlej and Pakistan has access to the Western Rivers, The Indus, The Chenab and The Jhelum.
India is willing to construct two hydroelectric power plants in Kashmir, on the tributaries of The Chenab and The Jhelum. The power plants are 330 megawatts Kishanganga and 850 megawatts Ratle. While India says that the plan of the venture works in understanding to the settlement, Pakistan disagrees. The country says that the arrangement will influence the measure of water entering its region. Following the conflict, Pakistan approached the World Bank in 2016.
Finalized Agreement on the Indus Water Treaty
Pakistan, on one hand, wants the matter to be solved through arbitration; India on the other hand, wants the dispute to settle through transparency and appointment of a neutral representative. Following the contention, a meeting was held on August 1-2, 2017, between the secretaries of Minister of Water, of the respective nations. The Indian side was driven by Union Water Resources Secretary, Marjit Singh, while, the Secretary of Water Resources Division, Arif Ahmad Khan and Yousuf Naseem Khokar, the Secretary of Water Power represented Pakistan. The World Bank said that the dialogue was held in ‘spirit of Goodwill’ and ‘Cooperation’. Both the countries mutually decided to hold discussions again in September. The second round of meeting took place on September14-15, 2017 in Washington. However, the talks between the two nations reached a standstill and no decision was taken.
World Bank stated that “While an agreement has not been reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the Treaty provisions,”
As neighboring nations, both India and Pakistan should take a well-informed decision so that neither of the two countries has to suffer. Moreover, keeping a silent lip won’t help. It is, therefore, important to reach a common consensus.