India, by violating the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), will set a dangerous precedent for other countries to behave the same way, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told Russia’s Sputnik news service on Tuesday.
“Contravention of the treaty or its unilateral abrogation by India will set a precedent providing other countries a possible justification to undertake similar actions,” he said, hoping that Delhi would abide by its obligations under IWT.
The treaty, brokered by the World Bank and signed by Pakistan and India in 1960, outlines the share of water from the Indus and its five tributaries between the South Asian rivals. Under it, India is allotted the Ravi, Sutlej and Beas rivers while Pakistan can use up to 80 per cent of water from the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
Following the recent uptick in tensions between Islamabad and Delhi, the Indian government in September decided to review IWT and exploit ‘to the maximum’ water from the rivers allotted to Pakistan. More recently, reports suggested India is stepping up efforts to make maximum use of water from the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab by building large reservoirs and canals.
The Sputnik report also quoted Chaudhry as advising India that dialogue is the best way to defeat extremism which is damaging bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Relations between Pakistan and India have not been very good and the reason is that Pakistan and India are not having any dialogue,” he said. “There is also misperception about each other. This is not something that our leadership wants.”
“We also believe that it is for the two counties to sit at the table and share each other’s perspectives, no matter how difficult the issues are, including extremism that damage the bilateral relations,” Chaudhry added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2016.