Pakistan for new measures to energise Indus Treaty

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: Affirming its commitment to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), Pakistan has sought measures to make the mechanism more effective by outlining its concerns, as well as proposing measures that would reduce distrust between the two countries.

In a non-paper submitted to India, Pakistan has said construction of projects on the three western rivers should be undertaken only after objections are amicably resolved. It also called upon India to submit full and timely information about new power plants and irrigation works on these rivers.

Islamabad has also suggested joint water shed management and joint commissioning of environmental studies that would address emerging concerns arising from reduced flows.

Of the six rivers forming part of the IWT, Pakistan has most rights of usage on the three western rivers, while India enjoys similar rights on the three eastern rivers.

Both nations have been sparring over India constructing “run of the river” projects on the western rivers, which, Pakistan alleges, contributes to water scarcity. On the other hand, India advises Pakistan to improve its water management and claims any drop in the flow of waters is also because of the overall pattern of receding glaciers and climate change. Pakistan has also drawn attention to “additional concerns,” such as deforestation and pollution and India's non-responsiveness to Pakistan's concerns raised in the Indus Water Commission. Islamabad also believes New Delhi has fallen short in meeting the three requirements listed under the IWT — details of new projects six months before their commencement, diversion for storage and farm purposes from western rivers and providing details about ancillary projects.