India is working on exercising its rights to stop excess water flowing to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 to irrigate its own lands, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said.
After nine years of negotiations, India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960, with the World Bank also being a signatory. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of six rivers—Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
Under the treaty, all waters of three eastern rivers viz., Ravi, Sutlej and Beas were allocated to India to use exclusively. On the other hand, waters of Western rivers viz., Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab were allocated to Pakistan. However, India was given exception to use waters of western rivers for specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use. India has also been given right to generate hydroelectricity under run of the river projects on Western Rivers. It is subject to specific criteria for design and unrestricted operation.
The move to harvest excess water comes against the backdrop of India working on a plan to divert the waters of Ujh, which is one of the main tributaries of the Ravi River that flows into Pakistan. This is also of strategic importance to India, given that control over river water flow acts as a force multiplier during times of aggression.
India’s plan to fully utilize its share of water under the treaty assumes strategic importance against the backdrop of China developing the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the region.
With an eye on Pakistan, India is also expediting other strategically important hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir such as 850-megawatt (MW) Ratle, 800MW Bursar, 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 624MW Kiru and 540MW Kwar in J&K and ladakh Union territories.