India has accelerated its efforts to make full use of water from the Indus River and its tributaries.
It quoted Indian officials as saying that New Delhi is looking to build large reservoirs and canals to store more and more water from the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum over the coming years. Most of the water from these three rivers is allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty.
According to the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has unrestricted access to the three rivers, i.e. Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus. For its part, India was allocated unrestricted access to the three eastern rivers, i.e. Ravi, Sutlej and Beas.
Experts warn India’s efforts towards this end to pose a serious threat to water security in Pakistan. Pakistan has already informed India of its serious reservations over the construction of two hydropower projects in the Indus basin. Pakistan has voiced its concerns that India may become capable of holding more than its just share as outlined in the Indus Waters Treaty.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pointed out that the treaty was signed with the agreement of the two countries and no country can cancel it on its own and without the consent of the other.
Tens of millions of people in Pakistan are dependent on the waters of Indus River and its tributaries.
Indian officials say Delhi will take steps according to the rules and regulations of the treaty and use only the share of water India is allowed to utilise under the Indus Waters Treaty. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent rhetoric regarding the treaty, however, has set of alarm bells in Pakistan, with senior government figures warning that any move to violate the treaty will be considered an act of war.
The Indus Waters Treaty 1960 is seen as one of the most successful international treaties and has withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict.
The Treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries. It also sets out a process for resolving so-called “questions”, “differences” and “disputes” that may arise between the parties.