‘Pakistan’s Actions Have Forced…’: India Issues Notice Demanding Modification of Indus Waters Treaty Citing Islamabad’s ‘Intransigence’
India has sent a notice to Pakistan regarding the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) of September 1960 and has demanded a change in the treaty. The announcement was made on Wednesday (Jan 25), following Islamabad’s “obstinacy” in implementing it, government sources said on Friday. Pakistan is now expected to engage in intergovernmental talks within 90 days.
India said it had tried several times to find a mutually agreeable way, but Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Sindh Commission from 2017 to 2022.
According to sources, the World Bank has recently initiated proceedings both as a neutral expert and as an arbitral tribunal. To this, India contends that parallel consideration of the same issues is not covered under any provision of the IWT.
While Pakistan will take time to respond to the notice, if the IWT undergoes change, both India and Pakistan will have an opportunity to incorporate the lessons learned over the past 62 years.
It is noteworthy that in October last year, the World Bank appointed a “neutral expert” and chairman of the arbitral tribunal in relation to the Kishenganga and Rattle hydropower plants. Michelle Lino was appointed as the neutral expert and Sean Murphy as the chairman. The jury, a PTI report said.
India and Pakistan signed the IWT in September 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the Washington-based World Bank as a signatory. The agreement lays down a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of information on the use of rivers between the two countries.
However, the main point of contention is that India and Pakistan disagree on whether the technical design aspects of the Kishenganga and Ratle hydropower plants violate the agreement.
In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally withdrew the claim and proposed an arbitral tribunal adjudicate its objections, sources said.
They said, ‘This unilateral action by Pakistan is inconsistent with the standardized dispute settlement mechanism envisaged by Article IX of the IWT. Accordingly, India separately requested that the matter be referred to a neutral expert.
“Initiating two processes simultaneously on the same questions and the possibility of their inconsistent or conflicting outcomes creates an unprecedented and legally unacceptable situation that endangers the IWT,” the source said.