Indus Waters Story: Issues, Concerns, Perspectives

Authors:
Ashok Motwani
Sant Kumar Sharma

Since Independence in 1947, there has been a ‘water conflict’ between India and Pakistan. A World Bank assisted water-distribution treaty was signed in 1960, which divided the Indus System of rivers. Accordingly, the control of three Eastern rivers - the Beas, Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India, while the water flowing in three Western rivers - the Indus, Chenab and the Jhelum with was controlled by Pakistan.

Soon after the Treaty was signed, India went on to construct several hydroelectric power plants and storages on its portion of the Western rivers. Consequently, the building of these structures has become a controversial issue between the two countries, since the Western rivers are controlled by Pakistan and provide more that 90% water to that country. Although the Treaty has survived decades of acrimony and three wars, between India and Pakistan and remains one of the most successful water-sharing arrangements in the world, it has been running into more difficulties in recent times. Following the Uri attack of September 2016 and the Pulwama attack on February 2019, there have been renewed demands to stop sharing water with Pakistan, if not to scrap the Treaty altogether. This book highlights the sensitive issue of water sharing between the two nuclear powers. It explains that how, if not addressed, the dispute could well lead to yet another war. Furthermore, it examines what, within the scope of the Treaty, can be done by India to exercise its rights. What is required for that is an understanding of the nuances of the Treaty, the political will to go ahead with exercising India’s rights to the fullest and the enterprise to ask engineers to design projects aimed at doing so. Well researched, balanced and concise, Ashok Motwani and Sant Kumar Sharma provide a valuable perspective on Indus Waters Treaty.

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“This book provides a vast amount of material to think about.”

Nitin Gadkari
Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

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