India sends notice to Pakistan on Indus Water Treaty

India has accused Pakistan of “obstinacy” on the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and issued a notice to it, the news agency reported on Friday, quoting sources. The “notice of amendment” was sent to Islamabad on 25 January.

India and Pakistan signed the IWT in September 1960 after nine years of long negotiations. The World Bank was a signatory to the agreement. The IWT establishes a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of information between the two countries regarding the use of the waters of the many rivers.

The news agency quoted sources as saying that India has always been a staunch supporter and a responsible partner in implementing the IWT in letter and spirit. “However, Pakistan’s actions have adversely affected the provisions of the IWT and their implementation and have forced India to issue an appropriate notice seeking amendment to the agreement,” said one of the sources.

In 2015, Pakistan had sought the appointment of a neutral expert for its technical objections on the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in India. The very next year, Islamabad withdrew the request and sought a court of arbitration to decide on its objections.

Sources said this unilateral action by Pakistan is in violation of the graded mechanism of dispute resolution envisaged by Article IX of the IWT. Accordingly, India made a separate request to refer the matter to a neutral expert.

“The simultaneous initiation of two processes on the same question and the possibility of their inconsistent or contradictory outcomes creates an unprecedented and legally untenable situation, which jeopardizes the IWT itself,” the source said. “The World Bank itself acknowledged this in 2016, and decided to ‘stop’ the initiation of two parallel processes and requested India and Pakistan to find an amicable way out,” it said.

Pakistan did not budge from the tussle and refused to discuss the issue during five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022, despite repeated attempts by India to find a mutually agreeable way out. On the persistent insistence of Pakistan, the World Bank had recently taken the initiative. Sources said the action on both the neutral expert and Court of Arbitration procedures. He submitted that such parallel consideration of similar issues is not covered under any provision of IWT. “Faced with such violation of IWT provisions, India has been forced to issue a notice of amendment,” said one of the sources.