IWT- Time to rectify

Pakistan’s disastrous foreign policy with India is a classic case study of how to tackle a rogue neighbouring country. Consistent denial and changing goal post are the official policies of Pakistan. Right from its inception it has been bleeding India one way or another; terrorism, narcotics smuggling, squabbling and every effort being made to put a spanner in the development of India. The latest is attempt to somehow stall Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects. The Indus Water Treaty is clearly in favour of Pakistan but still, India has been consistently honouring it, playing the role of a big brother despite being at loss. Signed in 1960, after long negotiations since independence, with World Bank as the third signatory in addition to India and Pakistan. There is a set procedure for the redressal of any concern and water commissions of both sides are meeting regularly as per the set clauses to sort out disputes and clear vague concerns. But Pakistan has breached the set procedures in the cases of the Kishenganga and Ratle projects. In case of any dispute first step is to sort it out mutually by Pakistan and India, if not resolved World Bank will intervene and try to resolve it, if still not resolved neutral observers can be appointed and if even they fail to break the impasse then Court of Arbitrary proceedings will be done. But in this case, Pakistan first refused to accept Indian clarifications, it asked the World bank to appoint neutral observers, withdrew that application and then asked for arbitration proceedings. World Bank has, for reasons better known to them, obliged Pakistan and both neutral observer and arbitrary proceedings have been initiated. Mockery of this wise decision is what to do in case both come out with contrary rulings. The IWT has been breached by Pakistan and India has righty put Pakistan on ninety days’ notice to respond. This is absolutely the right time to not only sort out this issue only but all the points of the treaty which are disadvantageous to India have to be amended. Sixty-two years of Indian experience with IWT is bitter with no locus stand of Pakistan, Islamabad is “intransigence” to comply with the dispute redressal mechanism of the pact. Experts and international panellists had pointed out many times the one-sidedness of IWT with no rationale. Instead of focusing on the internal problems of Pakistan its rulers find the best way to divert the attention of the masses is to be contemptuous towards India. Siloed on the international forum on the terrorism front, begging for aid, no foreign reserves to import even oil, no money to pay interests on international debt, on the verge of collapse, yet grumbling over nonexistent issues.
IWT is the most liberal water-sharing pact between the two countries in the world, instead of 50:50 Pakistan is getting 80% of the water of Indus, Jehlum, Chenab, Ravi Beas and Sutlej, giving lower riparian Pakistan four times the water available to India. From Jammu’s point of view despite Chenab flowing through the entire Jammu Division yet water cannot be used for drinking or irrigation. Tawi has been overexploited and is now unable to meet the water-stressed needs of Jammu, plans to extract more groundwater and no plans to recharge are just backfiring, water table getting lower with every passing year. Jammu requires about 300 million litres of water but only 190 million are available, around 90 million lifted from the Tawi and the rest from underground via 300 tube wells. Asian Development Bank backed out of the one thousand crore Chenab Water Lift Project earlier citing IWT. The whole Kandi belt of Jammu is facing acute scarcity of water, land is there but no source of irrigation except rainwater. The time has come to rectify past misdeeds, Jammu and Kashmir has already suffered a lot. India has every right to utilise the water and hopefully, this notice to Pakistan will resolve the IWT issue in our favour this time.