Explained: What is Indus Water Treaty, under which India refuses to share water with Pakistan


In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack that took place last week, the Narendra Modi Government on Thursday decided to stop their share of the water that was flowing into Pakistan. India has planned to divert the flow of its share of water to Pakistan from rivers under the Indus Water Treaty, for the welfare of the people living in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab According to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, a dam is being constructed at Shahpur- Kandi on the Ravi river. He added that the UJH project will store our share of water for use in JK and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states. Gadkari also stated that these projects have been declared as National projects by the government. Indias move has started a major discussion among the people about the Indus Water Treaty and what it entails. Heres a historical background of the treaty and how it came into being: What is the Indus Water Treaty (IWT)? Signed in the year 1960 by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, the Indus Water Treaty is an agreement that was made to chalk out the control over the 6 rivers that run across India and then Pakistan into the Indus basin. This treaty was signed following the partition of the subcontinent. On an international level, the IWT has seen as one of the most successful cases of conflict resolution. It is so because India and Pakistan, ever since IWT was signed, have engaged in 4 major wars but the treaty has stayed in place. The origin of the six rivers that make the Indus basin take place in Tibet from where they flow across the Himalayan ranges and end in the Arabian sea south of Karachi. The Treaty was devised as the Indus basin was one of the networks between the two nations and because Pakistan was unsurprisingly threatened with the prospect of being fed by India. Which rivers belongs to India and which ones to Pakistan? Before 1960, in order to sort the water sharing issue, the Inter-Dominion accord was laid down in order to release enough waters to Pakistan from India in return for annual payments. However, the problem of this arrangement was soon realised. A new alternative solution was considered necessary. Then in 1960, India and Pakistan eventually reached a decisive step for the issue with the intervention of the World Bank. Precise details were laid out about how the water will be divide. While Jhelum, Chenab and Indus (3 western rivers) were allocated to Pakistan, India received the control of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej (3 eastern rivers). The treaty also stated that aside of certain specific cases, no storage and irrigation systems can be built by India on the western rivers. Indias share of water from Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers came to 33 million acres feet (MAF). While about 95 per cent of the water was being used in the country after the construction of three main dams across the rivers, close to 5 per cent water or 1.6 MAF would flow to Pakistan.

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