Permanent Indus Commission

News: The 116th Meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) between India and Pakistan is underway in
New Delhi. The first day of the Meeting coincided with the National Day of Pakistan (marks Lahore Resolution
of 23rd March, 1940).
Details:

  • The meeting is being held after a gap of more than two-and-a-half years, a period that witnessed
    Pulwama attack (14th February, 2019), Balakot air strike (26th february, 2019), and Abrogation of
    special provisions under Article 370 that gave special status to J&K.
  • A discussion on Pakistan’s objections about two India Projects – Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai – is
    expected to be held.
  • India is building Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) on river Marusudar, a tributary of the
    Chenab. The project is located in Kishtwar district of J&K.
  • The second project – Lower Kalnai – is being developed on the Chenab.
  • Routine issues such as flood data exchange mechanisms are also expected to be discussed.
  • The meeting is being seen as a positive step after both countries agreed to “strict observance of all
    agreements, understanding and ceasefire along the Line of Control and all other sectors” last month.
    Permanent Indus Commission:
  • It is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals
    of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960. The Commission, according to the treaty, shall meet regularly at least
    once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
  • The functions of the Commission include:
    o To study and report to the two Governments on any problem relating to the development on the
    waters of the rivers.
    o To solve disputes arising over water sharing.
    o To arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.
    o To undertake, once in every five years, a general tour of inspection of the Rivers for ascertaining
    the facts.
    o To take necessary steps for the implementation of the provisions of the treaty.

Indus Waters Treaty, 1960

  • The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the
    World Bank signed in Karachi in 1960.
  • According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the
    Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India
  • The control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the
    Jhelum was given to Pakistan
  • The treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for
    power generation, domestic, industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of
    property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects
  • India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through the run of the river (RoR)
    projects on the Western Rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation is
    unrestricted.
  • Back in time, partitioning the Indus rivers system was inevitable after the Partition of India in 1947.
  • The sharing formula devised after prolonged negotiations sliced the Indus system into two halves.
  • Equitable it may have seemed, but the fact remained that India conceded 80.52 per cent of the
    aggregate water flows in the Indus system to Pakistan.
  • It also gave Rs 83 crore in pounds sterling to Pakistan to help build replacement canals from the
    western rivers. Such generosity is unusual of an upper riparian.
  • India conceded its upper riparian position on the western rivers for the complete rights on the eastern
    rivers. Water was critical for India’s development plans.
    Lahore Resolution
  • A historic session of the All-India Muslim League was held at Lahore in March 1940.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah explained how Hindus and Muslims cannot co-exist peacefully.
  • On 23rd March, an epoch-making resolution was moved at that session demanding that areas of the
    subcontinent of India in which the Muslims were numerically in a majority, as in the North-Western and
    Eastern Zones, should be grouped to constitute independent States.
  • Having regard to the place of its adoption, the resolution was originally referred to as the Lahore
    Resolution. The Hindu Press, however, dubbed it as the Pakistan Resolution and eventually, in popular
    parlance, it came to be called as such.
  • The Lahore Resolution was the beginning of the end of the administrative unity of the entire subcontinent, which had been created by the Muslim Emperors and continued by the British; within eight
    years of its adoption the subcontinent was partitioned and Pakistan appeared as an independent
    sovereign State on its map.