- On November 25, during an inauguration function of AIIMS in Bathinda, PM said that the fields of our farmers must have adequate water.
- As per PM, water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan and Government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers.
How does India’s water go to Pakistan?
- Indus river and its tributaries like Jhelum, Chenab etc flow to Pakistan from India.
- On September 19, 1960 in Karachi, the two countries signed an treaty called The Indus Water Treaty.
- This treaty was signed by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan to ensure distribution of water of Indus river and its tributaries.
- The deal was brokered by the World Bank.
- According to this agreement, control over the three eastern rivers, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, was given to India, while control over the three western rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum was given to Pakistan.
- Since rivers flow through India first, the treaty allowed India to use them for irrigation, transport and power generation but regulated their use for Indian power projects along the way.
- As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus river system.
- A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.
What PM said and what it means?
- PM said farmers would get their due water and government would ensure that this happens.
- It does NOT mean that the Indian government is planning to review the treaty to change the sharing agreements between India and Pakistan.
- It only means that whatever 20% has been allotted to India would be used to the maximum.
Can India modify the treaty unilaterally?
- Changing the terms of this treaty unilaterally has various implications.
- China is a strong ally of Pakistan and Indus originates from Tibet in China. If China decides to stop or change the flow of the river Indus, it will affect India first.
- Moreover the flow of river Yarlung Tsang Po which originates from China and is known as Brahmaputra in India, can also be obstructed by China.
- Already several power projects are being constructed by China on this river which affects India’s interests.
- Kashmir issue will get another dimension and Pakistan would get fodder to radicalize the already poor people of Pakistan to engage in terror activities in India.
- More importantly, any action on this front would have a spillover impacts on other water sharing pacts of India in South Asia.
- India is a part of three water-sharing pacts between countries in the region e.g. the Ganges treaty with Bangladesh, the Indus water treaty with Pakistan and the Gandak treaty with Nepal.
- Suspicion breeds among the neighbours on abrogation of international treaties and it is better not to create bad precedents on water sharing pacts.
- And violation of international treaties affects the credibility of a rising country like India.
- So technically and pragmatically it is not advisable to tinker with the Indus water treaty.
- Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river in future. All of us would anyway be affected in the long run.
Need to focus on Domestic issues
- In Maharashtra and other parts of the country thousands of farmers have committed suicide. Has Pakistan taken their water as well?
- It is very easy on the both the sides to blame each other for political gains and shed off their responsibilities.
- The seriousness of the present Punjab government can be judged by their response to the massive drug problem which has engulfed majority of it’s youth. PM must have taken serious steps which are largely missing therefore Pakistan in being invoked.
- It’s not the water which lacks but it is the Political will to ensure it’s availability.
- Israel has little water, but an impressive agriculture; not because they repent lack of water but cherish abundance of political commitment!
- No comments on the political commitments please, else along with Indus water one would also be flown down to Pakistan!