United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for the Indus River waters shared by Pakistan and India to be used as a “tool for peace and not war".
During a 4-day visit to Pakistan in mid-February Guterres alluded to heightened tensions between the two countries around interpretation and implementation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty which codifies the division and management of the waters of the Indus.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised by the Pakistan government for promising supporters last year that river waters that currently flow into Pakistan under the 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.
Guterres underscored the fact that about 80 percent of Pakistan’s water is used to support its agriculture-based economy and that this supply is at risk due to the effects of climate change.
India and Pakistan “share” the waters of six rivers that flow through the two nations. The World Bank-brokered 1960 treaty 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.