A Pakistan government delegation visiting Washington DC this month was expected to demand establishment of a court of arbitration to address concerns over India’s two hydroelectric power projects – Kishanganga and Ratle, under terms of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty between Pakistan and India.
The group, headed by Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Syed Mehr Ali Shah left for the United States 15 December, and was expected to stay for five days of meetings, particularly with the World Bank (WB) which acts as Arbitrator to the Treaty.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi was criticised by the Pakistan government after he promised supporters at an October rally that river waters that currently flow into Pakistan per terms of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty would be diverted to Indian farms and households in the region, claiming that despite the terms of the agreement, the water “belongs” to farmers of Haryana and Rajasthan.
Responding to Modi, Mohammad Faisal of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that Pakistan had “exclusive rights” over the three western rivers as established by the Indus Waters Treaty and that any proposed diversion would be considered an “act of aggression”. To which Modi, in return, said 19 October Modi warned Pakistan that he’s serious about using 100 percent of Indian river waters
India and Pakistan “share” the waters of six rivers that flow through the two nations. The World Bank-brokered agreement allocates control of the eastern rivers (the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej) to India and the western rivers (the Indus, the Chenab, and the Jhelum) to Pakistan. However, an estimated 5 percent of India’s unutilized water share flows to downstream Pakistan territory and India is attempting to access this flow.