India cannot unilaterally separate from Indus Waters Treaty, says Sartaj Aziz

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani economist and strategist who serves as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Advisor on Foreign Affairs, on Monday said that India cannot unilaterally separate itself from the Indus Waters Treaty according to the international law. He said that if India violates the treaty then Pakistan can approach the International Court of Justice, insisting the revocation of the treaty can be taken as an "act of war".

"The international law states that India cannot unilaterally separate itself from the treaty," Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, said while briefing the National Assembly on the issue.

He said unilateral revocation of the treaty can pose a threat to Pakistan and its economy. He said that if India violates the treaty Pakistan can approach the International Court of Justice.

"This Indian act can be taken as breach of international peace and hence giving Pakistan a good reason to approach the UN Security Council," Aziz said.

He said Pakistan is considering to draw attention of the international community on the dangers of such an action if it is considered seriously.

"Between the two countries, this act of revocation can be taken as an act of war," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday had chaired a review meeting of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty during which it was decided that India will "exploit to the maximum" the waters of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact. He said, "Blood and water cannot flow together."

Under the treaty, which was signed by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, waters of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum — were to be shared between the two countries.

Pakistan has been complaining about not receiving enough water and had gone for international arbitration in a couple of cases.

A file photo of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

A file photo of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

Noting that India, a high riparian state, has been very "generous" to Pakistan, a low riparian state, with regard to the water sharing rights as a "goodwill" gesture, government sources told PTI that a "tough situation" has emerged after the recent terror strike in Uri and it was "appropriate time" to review the treaty as to how it has worked or not worked.

The Inter-Ministerial Task Force, which is expected to have representatives from Ministries of Water, External Affairs, Power and Finance, will look into the details of India's rights pertaining to the western rivers, which are controlled by Pakistan.

Sources are also talking about government's decision to expedite work on three dams — Pakal Dul, Sawalkot and Bursar — on Chenab river.

Giving the details regarding utilisation of river waters for agricultural purposes, sources told PTI that as per the treaty, water can be used to irrigate 9.12 lakh acres which can be extended by another 4.2 lakh acres. However, India was only using it for 8 lakh acres.

On run-of-the-river hydro-electrical projects, the PTI sources have said that out of 18,600 MW capacity, India was only utilising 3,034 MW, while projects of 2,526 MW capacity were under construction and 5,846 MW were at the advanced stage of approval.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 27, 2016 16:15 PM

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