India has issued a notice to Pakistan for modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of September 1960 following Islamabad’s “intransigence” on its implementation, government sources said on Friday (January 27).
The notice was sent on January 25 through the respective commissioners for Indus waters, they said.
The sources said India had always been a steadfast supporter and a responsible partner in implementing the IWT in letter and spirit.
“However, Pakistan’s actions have adversely impinged on the provisions of IWT and their implementation, and forced India to issue an appropriate notice for modification of the pact,” said a source.
IWT was signed after nine years of negotiations
India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory to the pact. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding the use of water of a number of rivers.
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In 2015, Pakistan requested for the appointment of a neutral expert to examine its technical objections to India’s Kishanganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs). In 2016, Pakistan unilaterally retracted this request and proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate on its objections, the sources said.
Pakistan’s unilateral action
They said this unilateral action by Pakistan was in contravention of the graded mechanism of dispute settlement envisaged by Article IX of the IWT. Accordingly, India made a separate request for the matter to be referred to a neutral expert.
“The initiation of two simultaneous processes on the same questions and the potential of their inconsistent or contradictory outcomes creates an unprecedented and legally untenable situation, which risks endangering the IWT itself,” the source said.
“The World Bank itself acknowledged this in 2016, and took a decision to pause the initiation of two parallel processes and request India and Pakistan to seek an amicable way out,” it said.
India’s efforts ignored
The sources said that despite repeated efforts by India to find a mutually-agreeable way forward, Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022.
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At Pakistan’s continuing insistence, the World Bank had recently initiated actions on both the neutral expert and Court of Arbitration processes, they said. The sources added that such parallel consideration of the same issues was not covered under any provision of IWT.
“Faced with such violation of IWT provisions, India has been compelled to issue notice of modification,” the source cited above said.
(With Agency inputs)