Introduction: South Asian countries, particularly India and Pakistan, have both faced challenges in water management and proper river basin management. The consequence of this has been a severe water crisis, which has a bearing on both ground and surface water. A cursory glance at the data on fresh water availability per person, per year reveals this vulnerability. South Asia’s renewable freshwater resources are about 1,200 cubic meters per capita.
In comparison, a large number of countries have between 2,500 – 15,000 cubic meters per capita. The difficulties in managing surface water are especially complex in South Asia.
River basins—the ultimate source of all water used in households, agriculture and industry (like hydropower companies), as well as the receptors of most wastewater 2—often transgress international borders. Since actions upstream can lead to disruption of the natural flow of rivers, water pollution, diversion of the waters with the occasional threat of even blocking the flow of water, water sharing can often lead to political tensions and acrimony, as has happened in the case of India and Pakistan.
The lower riparian countries become especially vulnerable.
Effective river basin management therefore necessitates that water users take into account the relationships, interaction and impact that their actions have on others, especially those downstream. The system of rivers in the Indus basin comprises 2,000 miles of the river Indus and its five tributaries from the East — Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, with an aggregate length of “Unfortunately, we are going towards conflict and not conflict resolution,” says Majidulla, who heads a body called the Pakistan Trans-border Water Organization, formed in September to monitor what he calls “increased activity” on the Indian side of the border.
The countries’ antagonistic political relationship has certainly not helped to ease their differences over water. “Given the mutual hostility between the two countries, it is not surprising that there is a tendency in Pakistan to believe that the scarcity it is experiencing or fearing is partly attributable to upper riparian actions,” Ramaswamy Iyer, India’s former secretary for water resources, wrote in an op-ed in the Hindu newspaper. At times, the rhetoric has even reached a fevered pitch, such as when Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistani militant group Jamaat-u-Dawa and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whipped up public entiment against India’s so-called “water terrorism” in 2010 by using slogans like “water flows or blood. ” Few believe India and Pakistan will actually go to war over the disputes, but one thing is for certain: water is making it harder for the long-time rivals to put their enmity behind them. Indo-Pak water dispute: The origin:The Indo-Pak dispute on the Indus basin has drawn immense attention in South Asia and across the world, largely due to the nature of the tense political relationship between the two countries.
This attention has grown more intense in recent years, in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008, which had kindled fears of a nuclear war. Analysts began exploring, not only the sources of the tension between the two nuclear states but also areas which had the potential for increased cooperation and thereby reduce the possibility of a war at any point in the future. Water is one such area, especially the Indus basin. The system of rivers in the Indus basin comprises 2,000 miles of the river Indus and its five tributaries from the East — Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, with an aggregate length of
Historical background: Indus Waters Treaty The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan. The treaty was a result of Pakistani fear that since the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India, it could potentially create droughts and famines in Pakistan, especially at times of war.
The Indus System of Rivers comprises three Western Rivers the Indus, the Jhelum and Chenab and three Eastern Rivers – the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi. The treaty, under Article 5. 1, envisages the sharing of waters of the rivers Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Jhelum and Chenab which join the Indus River on its left bank (eastern side) in Pakistan. According to this treaty, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, which constitute the eastern rivers, are allocated for exclusive use by India before they enter Pakistan.
However, a transition period of 10 years was permitted in which India was bound to supply water to Pakistan from these rivers until Pakistan was able to build the canal system for utilization of waters of Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus itself, allocated to it under the treaty. Similarly, Pakistan has exclusive use of the Western Rivers Jhelum, Chenab and Indus but with some stipulations for development of projects on these rivers in India. Pakistan also received one-time financial compensation for the loss of water from the Eastern rivers.
Since March 31, 1970, after the 10-year moratorium, India has secured full rights for use of the waters of the three rivers allocated to it.  The treaty resulted in partitioning of the rivers rather than sharing of their waters.  The countries agree to exchange data and co-operate in matters related to the treaty. For this purpose, treaty creates the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country. The waters of the Indus basin begin in Chinese Tibet and the Himalayan mountains in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
They flow from the hills through the arid states of Punjab and Sindh, converging in Pakistan and emptying into the Arabian Sea south of Karachi. Where once there was only a narrow strip of irrigated land along these rivers, developments over the last century have created a large network of canals and storage facilities that provide water for more than 26 million acres (110,000 km2) – the largest irrigated area of any one river system in the world. The partition of British India created a conflict over the plentiful waters of the Indus basin.
The newly formed states were at odds over how to share and manage what was essentially a cohesive and unitary network of irrigation. Furthermore, the geography of partition was such that the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India. Pakistan felt its livelihood threatened by the prospect of Indian control over the tributaries that fed water into the Pakistani portion of the basin. Where India certainly had its own ambitions for the profitable development of the basin, Pakistan felt acutely threatened by a conflict over the main source of water for its cultivable land.
During the first years of partition the waters of the Indus were apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 4, 1948. This accord required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from the government of Pakistan. The accord was meant to meet immediate requirements and was followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. Neither side, however, was willing to compromise their respective positions and negotiations reached a stalemate.
From the Indian point of view, there was nothing that Pakistan could do to prevent India from any of the schemes to divert the flow of water in the rivers. Pakistan’s position was dismal and India could do whatever it wanted.  Pakistan wanted to take the matter to the International Court of Justice but India refused, arguing that the conflict required a bilateral resolution. By 1951, the two sides were no longer meeting and the situation seemed intractable. The Pakistani press was calling for more drastic action and the deadlock contributed to hostility with India.
As one anonymous Indian official said at the time, “India and Pakistan can go on shouting on Kashmir for all time to come, but an early settlement on the Indus waters is essential for maintenance of peace in the sub-continent” (Gulati 16). Despite the unwillingness to compromise, both nations were anxious to find a solution, fully aware that the Indus conflict could lead to overt hostilities if unresolved. Treaty provisions: The agreement set up a commission to adjudicate any future disputes arising over the allocation of waters.
The Permanent Indus Commission has survived two wars and provides an on-going mechanism for consultation and conflict resolution through inspection, exchange of data, and visits. The Commission is required to meet regularly to discuss potential disputes as well as cooperative arrangements for the development of the basin. Either party must notify the other of plans to construct any engineering works which would affect the other party and to provide data about such works. In cases of disagreement, a neutral expert is called in for mediation and arbitration.
While neither side has initiated projects that could cause the kind of conflict that the Commission was created to resolve, the annual inspections and exchange of data continue, unperturbed by tensions on the subcontinent. The Aqua War: All this work falls within the definition of an aqua war India is preparing to foist on Pakistan. India is rapidly moving towards its target of making Pakistan totally barren by building dams on three major rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus flowing into Pakistan from the Indian side of the border.
These dams are being built in shrewd violation of provisions in Indus Water Treaty signed between the two countries to ensure equitable distribution of water resources. India is doing its best to overturn the IWT but Pakistan must not fall into the Indian trap by following a two-pronged strategy. First, to pursue this case with full vigour, and ensure that the stay is confirmed, second, to utilize this breathing space to start building irrigation-cum-generation projects on the Indus.
However, a permanent solution will involve a settlement of the Kashmir issue. It would mean a general Indo-Pak settlement, ridding us of threat of water projects in Indian Held Kashmir. Kishanganga/neelam river dispute: Recently, a document titled “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’ (UNFCCC), reveals that India is all set to get the carbon credits of almost $700 million for 10 years against seven hydropower projects being built on Pakistan’s river Indus, Chenab and Jhelum from UN on 28 July .
This will automatically provide legitimacy to all the projects. India’s seeking carbon credits from UN is also linked with Kishanganga project. Pakistan is already in a legal battle with India on Kishanganga Project in International Court of Arbitration at The Hague. The International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has granted a stay order, restraining India from going ahead with the controversial hydro power project over river Kishanganga in Gurez area of occupied Kashmir.
Under the ICA order, India will not construct a permanent structure over River Neelum/Kishanganga that may affect the flow of water downstream. Pakistan had lodged a complaint in the court of arbitration that Indian bid to build Kishanganga dam was violation of World Bank brokered Indus Water Treaty of 1960. On Indian refusal Pakistan went to the ICA, which now issued the interim order on the issue restraining India from dam construction. Pakistan is confronted with a situation whereby India is trying to make IWT ineffective.
Kishanganga is one among many projects that Pakistan is becoming wary of. Pakistan is a lower riparian state, which gets almost all its water from Indian Held Kashmir. To negate any major confrontation between the two countries, the World Bank helped them reach an agreement through the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) in 1960. The treaty has withstood two major wars between the nuclear-armed countries besides smaller conflicts. But now the situation is changing, as Pakistan’s water needs have increased and the country is confronted with water shortage.
India initiated the Kishanganga project, costing $820 million, in the Gurez-Bandipora area of Kashmir, which would divert parts Neelum/Kishanganga flow which will be used to generate energy and raised level of water in the Wullar Lake. It involves construction of a 37-meter high concrete faced rock-fill dam which connected via a 22-kilometer water diversion tunnel. If completed, the dam would result in a 21% drop in Neelum River’s inflow; thereby the diversion of the Kishanganga River by India will reduce 27 per cent of the power-generation capacity of its Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project.
There is also fear of reduced river flows for at least six months every year, irreparable loss to the environment, especially to the Musk Deer Gurez Park, a vast national park in AJK near the LoC, and a dent in the tourism potential of the Neelum valley. About 200 kilometers of riverbed will be affected by the project and about 40 kilometers of the length of the river will completely dry up; the water reduction will also severely affect agriculture. Kishangnaga dam according to Indus water treaty:
Pakistan has said that India violating the Indus Basin Treaty and warned the neighboring country it will contact the World Bank over the construction of Kishanganga Dam. In its third letter written in a year over the issue Pakistan has warned India to invite the World Bank to mediate over the controversial dam construction. India wanted solution of the issue through dialogue but several rounds of the talks between the officials remain an exercise in futility. The World Bank solicited Indus Basin Treaty was inked between Pakistan and India in 1960 under which the bank can mediate in a dispute between the signatories.
Baglihar hydel-power project: The two countries had faced off over the Baglihar hydel-power project, built by damming the Chenab River in Indian Kashmir. In 2008 Pakistan was faced with decreased flow of water in the Chenab when India started to fill the dam. The river feeds water to 21 major canals and irrigates about 2. 8 million hectares of arable land in Pakistan. Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), an economic think-tank, calculated that filling the Baglihar dam would inflict a loss of $1. 5 billion on Pakistan. Analysts termed it a hydro weapon.
The fast-flowing Chenab, a vital river for Pakistan’s agriculture, has a high potential for generating power and India plans to generate 16,000MW of energy by constructing nine power houses on it. India maintains a huge military machine in Occupied Kashmir, much larger than the United States and its allies, put together, have in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Occupied Kashmir, its three-quarters of a million troops perhaps out number any such expeditionary force stationed in an occupied or disputed area since the Second World War.
On the face of it, the deployment is tasked to deal with freedom fighters, which of course is a daunting challenge, but more importantly, it is there to change the face of the Muslim-majority landscape called Kashmir; its main weapon being brutal use of force against unarmed civilian population. But where its work goes almost unnoticed is the security it provides to Indian engineers, who are planning and working day and night to build dams on rivers that take water to Pakistan.
So furiously are they working and in such so-far inaccessible areas that of late, New Delhi is thinking of bringing these projects under the enhanced protection cover of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). Nimoo-Bazgo and Chuttak hydroelectric project: A 57-metre high Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project has now been completely developed in the Leh District on the River Indus and is now operational from where the sustained and cheaper supply of electricity is being ensured to the Indian troops in Siachen.
In addition, a 42-metre high Chuttak hydroelectric project also got completed on the River Suru, a tributary of Indus in the Kargil district of the Indian-held Kashmir India’s Wular Lake conflict. India’s Wular Lake, a popular picnic and tourist spot nestled in the Kashmir Valley, is an unlikely site for conflict. But India’s plan to build a structure on the Jhelum River at the mouth of the lake that will allow it to release water during the river’s lean winter months has outraged neighboring Pakistan, which believes the project will give India the power to control how much water flows downstream to its farmers.
After two and a half decades of deadlock and 15 marathon rounds of bilateral talk — the countries appear a long way from finding common ground. Conclusion: Pakistan first thought it could go for arbitration over India’s Wullar Barrage on Jhelum River under the Indus Waters Treaty (1960), but the lawyers in New York told Islamabad it did not have a good case. Then it went for arbitration over the Baglihar Dam on Chenab River and lost the case.
The latest development this year is that it raised a storm over India’s Nimoo-Bazgo Dam on Indus River, only to be advised that it would lose at the more expensive Court of Arbitration. Among the positive aspects of the new relationship addressed by the two sides were two outstanding issues: Kashmir dispute and the quarrel over river waters. The river waters issue was raised by the Pakistani side along with the perennial Kashmir dispute; it received a measured response from the other side. Similar points were raised by the Pakistani side when an Indian chambers of commerce delegation visited Lahore earlier.
The year 2011 can be described as a critical period of media hype about yet another alleged Indian trespass into the waters apportioned to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty (1960) although the war cries had been gathering strength during 2010, centring on the Pakistani Indus Waters Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah. Jihadi periodical Jamaatud Dawa newspaper Jarrar (5 March 2010) reported that the people of Pakistan thought that Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah was bodily a Pakistani but his tongue spoke the language of Hindus.
He had not stopped making the strange statement (darfuntani) that India had not stolen Pakistan’s water. Jamaat Ali Shah was getting his salary from Pakistan but working for India, the paper said. Unfortunately, Jamaatud Dawa took out a procession on Lahore’s central mall in February 2010, its leader Hafiz Said making provocative speeches. Later the Chief of the Army Staff and the Prime of Pakistan also raised ‘the issue of waters’ in their statements. n (3 June 2010) a seminar held by Nawa-e-Waqt Group of newspapers decided that Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah was no longer speaking for Pakistan but was defending the Indian position on the stealing of river waters by India through 62 dams. Speakers including such “illustrious” men as Ambassador (Retd) Javed Hussain who said that India was stealing one crore forty acre feet of water and that the Indus Water Treaty was only good for the 1960s but today India’s water aggression could lead to an Indo-Pak war that would soon turn into a nuclear world war. t was further reported that Indus Waters Treaty Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah, while leaving for New Delhi to talk about waters shared by India and Pakistan, said that Pakistan was getting its share of waters under the Indus Treaty and that building a dam was the right of India. He said less water in Pakistani rivers was because of lack of rain, not because India had blocked it. The statement was a shock to many who thought India was waging a water war against Pakistan.
Quoted in Jang, Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah said in Lahore that Indus Water Treaty between Pakistan and India was an unhappy marriage over the years. He said India was preparing to build 25 to 20 dams on the rivers given to Pakistan. Although the dams were allowed by the treaty India should act on the spirit of the Treaty and agree to amend the amount of water given by the treaty to India from three Pakistani rivers. The reason was that the water flow in these rivers had decreased.
On (16 Dec 2010) Jamaat Ali Shah Pakistani’s Indus Waters Commissioner under the Indus Treaty was made OSD by the PM after many years in service once considered meritorious. He was made the commissioner in 1993 and was on the job till 2010 while India changed four commissioners during this period. Zahurul Hasan Dahir of the anti-India lobby said Shah had accepted Indian influence and had allowed Indian dams to be built on rivers belonging to Pakistan. Reported in another news paper on (5 Jan 2012), Indus Waters ex-commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah facilitated the building of India’s illegal Nimoo-Bazgo dam o that Leh could get electricity which means that Indian soldiers at Siachen would get the benefit of more comfort through use of electricity. Quoted in daily Pakistan (4 Jan 2012), former Indus Waters Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah said in Canada that he was surprised by news that he had run away to Canada after violating exit-control orders against him. He said he had come to Canada to look after his ill mother and despite retirement from his job he had informed the concerned authorities before departing Pakistan.
He said he was available to answer any charges. On 23 January 2012, the Ministry of Water and Power and its subordinate institution – the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) – started probing deeper into the alleged involvement of former Indus Water commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah in allegedly “facilitating” Indian authorities to construct the controversial Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project. FIA swooped down and took control of the office of the Commissioner and began pouring over its files.
Dawn (16 April 2011) reported: ‘Intelligence agencies seized on Friday the record of at least two federal ministries to investigate an alleged institutional lapse of not raising objections over Indian aggression on the country’s water rights and securing international carbon credits on hydropower projects disputed by Pakistan’. A preliminary report maintained that the former water commissioner did not play his due role and remained silent over the Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project (built by India during 2002-2009) and did not raise any objections during the Pak-India meetings.
But surprisingly, the commission started pursuing the project vigorously at all levels when it was known that it would be impossible to change the design of the project after its completion. The 57-metre-high controversial Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project is being developed in the Leh district on the Indus River and it is a run-of-the-river power project on the Indus River situated in village Alchi, 70 kilometres from Leh.
Express Tribune (3 January2012) reported: ‘Pakistan is gearing up for yet another legal battle over India’s ‘aggression’ on the country’s water rights and securing international carbon credits on hydropower projects disputed by Pakistan. The latest case under dispute is the construction of the controversial 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project on the Indus River by India, after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani approved challenging the project in the International Court of Arbitration (ICA)’.
Daily Times (18 July 2012) reported that the federal government had decided not to file a lawsuit in the Permanent Court of Arbitration-International Court of Arbitration (PCA-ICA) in Hague regarding its concerns and grievances over the controversial 45MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric power project. Annexure C of the Indus Waters Treaty is about India’s right to divert certain amount of water in certain months from the Western Rivers given to Pakistan. There is also no bar on the building of water storage for electricity production or any other non-consumptive use on Western Rivers (Annexure E).
If anyone complains in Pakistan about India building dams and taking some water out of our rivers, he speaks out of ignorance. Brahma Chellaney in his book Water: Asia’s New Battleground (Harper/Collins 2011) remarks: ‘Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a national news conference in April 2010 and said: “Is India stealing that water from you? No, it is not. Please do not fool yourself and do not misguide the nation. We are mismanaging that water”. Despite his confession, the Pakistani government has continued to spotlight water as a contentious bilateral matter.
One possible reason for its raking up the water issue in recent years is that it helps Pakistan to redirect attention away from India’s focus on cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistani territory as the core concern’ INDO-PAK WATER DISPUTE – (The current scenario) Fatima Jinnah Woman University By: Zaira Kamran M. DDS 2nd semester References * http://www. thefrontierpost. com/article/167056/ * http://pakobserver. net/detailnews. asp? id=71293 * http://dawn. com/2013/02/25/kishanganga-verdict-a-tilt-in-indias-favour/ * http://globalenergyobservatory. org/geoid/41433
Cite this Indo Pak Water Dispute
Indo Pak Water Dispute. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/indo-pak-water-dispute/