Editorial Analysis for UPSC - An Overlook into Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

An Overlook into Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)


  • Recently, the 118th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) comprising the Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan was held in New Delhi.

About the treaty:

  • The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in the year 1960 after a lot of negotiations.
  • It was signed between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Pakistani President Ayub Khan.
  • This treaty which was negotiated by World Bank establishes a cooperative mechanism for exchanging information between the two countries regarding the use of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) allocated to Pakistan and the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) allocated to India.
  • There are commissioners from each country in the Permanent Indus Commission.
  • It is the commissioners from the respective countries that oversee the mechanism governing the water body.
  • And they also ensure that the two countries meet annually to discuss myriad issues emerging from the treaty.
What are the issues?
  • Despite the political stalemate between the two countries talks under the treaty have been held on a regular basis.
  • However there are issues pertaining to few hydropower projects between the two countries.
  • This was evident when Pakistan raised objections to the design features of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants located on the tributaries of the Jhelum and the Chenab, respectively, designated as “Western Rivers”.
  • But it is a matter of fact that under the provisions of the treaty, India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers.
  • Similarly, India has raised concerns on issues such as Pakistan’s blockade of the Fazilka drain.


What to infer from the treaty?
  • Even though there are serious conflicts between the two neighbouring nations, the engagement under the agreement has continued.
  • This is a greatest example of the cooperation in water management anywhere in the world.
  • With the exception of differences on a few pending issues, both countries have avoided any actions resulting in the aggravation of the conflict or acted in a manner causing conflict to resurface.

 Source The Hindu

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