Should India repeal the Indus Water Treaty to check Pakistan?

Sansar LochanForeign Relations2 Comments


You must be aware of ongoing tension between India and Pakistan after Uri attack. Now the statement of Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman has indicated that India could break the agreement of Indus Water Treaty. In this article we will try to brief what is Indus Water Treaty?

What is Indus Water Treaty?

  1. This treaty was signed in 1960 by India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan.
  2. Under this treaty, the six rivers which flow in Sindhu basin were divided in two parts – Eastern and Western.
  3. India has full rights over the rivers which come under Eastern Part- Sutlej, Ravi and Beas
  4. India can use in a limited way the waters of the rivers Sindh (Indus), Chenab and Jhelum which come under Western part.
  5. According to this agreement, India can only stop 20% of water of the western part. Though, India can make dams over it but India can only make Run of the River Projects.
  6. This is a 56 years old treaty.

Why is the Sindhu River so important?

  1. The Sindhu river is one of the largest rivers of the sub-continent.
  2. The Sindhu basin spreads over 11.5 lakh square km, that means four states like Uttar Pradesh can be covered under it.
  3. It is more than 3000 km in length.
  4. It is longer than the Ganga river.
  5. Its tributary rivers are Chenab, Jhelum, Sutlej, Ravi and Beas.
  6. With all its tributary rivers, Sindh falls in the Arab Sea near Karachi, Pakistan.
  7. The Sindhu and its tributary rivers flow in 2/3 part of Pakistan.
  8. Pakistan uses the Sindhu river’s water for irrigation and power generation. So it is economically important for Pakistan.

It is not a cake walk for India to stop Sindhu river flowing into Pakistan. India will have to make numerous dams and various canals, that exercise would be very costly and a long term project.  If India tries to stop the Indus River then it may lead to heavy displacement of people and would have also environmental impact.

India has never broken any treaty yet with any country. If India breaks Indus water treaty, Pakistan will get a chance to play victim and utilize the situation to gain the sympathy of other nations on various fora.

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