Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan

What is Permanent Indus Commission?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indus Water Treaty

Mains level : India-Pakistan Relations

A 10-member Indian delegation will visit Pakistan for the annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) from March 1-3.

Agenda this year

  • Pakistan has some objections on Indian hydroelectric projects namely Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Lower Kalnai (48 MW) and Kiru (624 MW) in Chenab basin in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Pakistan has raised objections on the design of these projects.
  • India, however, asserts that the design of the project is fully compliant with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

Permanent Indus Commission

  • The PIC is a bilateral commission consisting of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage the goals and objectives, and outlines of the IWT.

Indus Waters Treaty, 1960

  • The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank signed in Karachi in 1960.
  • According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India
  • The control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan.

Rights accorded to India

  • The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc.
  • It lays down precise regulations to build any water or hydel projects.
  • India has been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river projects on the western rivers subject to specific criteria for design and operation.
  • The pact also gives the right to Pakistan to raise objections to designs of Indian hydroelectric projects on the western rivers.

Based on equitable water-sharing

  • Back in time, partitioning the Indus rivers system was inevitable after the Partition of India in 1947.
  • The sharing formula devised after prolonged negotiations sliced the Indus system into two halves.
  • Equitable it may have seemed, but the fact remained that India conceded 80.52 percent of the aggregate water flows in the Indus system to Pakistan.
  • It also gave Rs 83 crore in pounds sterling to Pakistan to help build replacement canals from the western rivers. Such generosity is unusual of an upper riparian.
  • India conceded its upper riparian position on the western rivers for the complete rights on the eastern rivers.
  • Water was critical for India’s development plans.

Significance of the treaty

  • It is a treaty that is often cited as an example of the possibilities of peaceful coexistence that exist despite the troubled relationship.
  • Well-wishers of the treaty often dub it “uninterrupted and uninterruptible”.
  • The World Bank, which, as the third party, played a pivotal role in crafting the IWT, continues to take particular pride that the treaty functions.

Need for a rethink

  • The role of India, as a responsible upper riparian abiding by the provisions of the treaty, has been remarkable.
  • However, of late, India is under pressure to rethink the extent to which it can remain committed to the provisions, as its overall political relations with Pakistan becomes intractable.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments