Pakistan’s refusal on indus waters treaty causes india to issue notice for modification of treaty

27 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh

pakistan National

India has always been a responsible partner in putting the IWT into action.

According to reports, India has given Pakistan notice to modify the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of September 1960 after Islamabad’s activities violated the treaty’s stipulations.

According to Article XII (3) of the IWT, the notification was sent on January 25 through the various Commissioners for Indus Waters. According to reports, the purpose of the notice for amendment is to provide Pakistan the option to join into intergovernmental consultations within 90 days to correct the material breach of the IWT. This procedure would also update IWT to reflect the lessons learnt during the previous 62 years.

India has always been a responsible partner in putting the IWT into action. According to reports, Pakistan’s activities have encroached on the terms of the IWT and their execution, forcing India to send an appropriate notice for IWT revision.

Pakistan requested the appointment of a Neutral Expert in 2015 to investigate its technical concerns to India’s Kishenganga and Ratle Hydroelectric Projects (HEPs). Pakistan unilaterally withdrawn its proposal in 2016 and asked that its concerns be heard by a Court of Arbitration.

According to reports, Pakistan’s move violates the graded dispute settlement procedure envisioned by Article IX of the IWT. As a result, India submitted a separate request that the issue be sent to a Neutral Expert.

The beginning of two concurrent procedures on the same questions, with the possibility of conflicting or contradictory conclusions, presents an unprecedented and legally unsustainable situation that threatens IWT itself. According to reports, the World Bank recognised this in 2016, when it decided to “pause” the start of two parallel procedures and asked India and Pakistan to seek an amicable solution.

Despite India’s continuous efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution, Pakistan has refused to debate the subject throughout the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022. At Pakistan’s demand, the World Bank launched steps on both the Neutral Expert and Court of Arbitration processes.

Such concurrent evaluation of the identical topics is not covered by any IWT clause. In October 2022, the World Bank made selections in two different processes sought by India and Pakistan in connection with the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power stations.

In accordance with its responsibility under the Indus Waters Treaty, it selected a chairman of the Court of Arbitration and a neutral expert. According to a World Bank press release, the two nations dispute on whether the technical design elements of the two hydroelectric projects violate the Treaty.

According to the report, Pakistan requested that the World Bank facilitate the establishment of a Court of Arbitration to address its concerns about the designs of the two hydroelectric power projects, while India requested the appointment of a Neutral Expert to address similar concerns about the two projects.

Michel Lino was named Neutral Expert, while Sean Murphy was named Chairman of the Court of Arbitration. According to the announcement, they will carry out their tasks in their individual role as subject matter experts, irrespective of any other posts they may now have.