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India speeding up Indus basin water plan: report

Updated Dec 23, 2016 10:34am


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NEW DELHI: India is stepping up efforts to maximise its use of the western rivers of the Indus basin, the BBC reported on Thursday quoting senior officials.

The move would involve building huge storage facilities and canals, it said. The three rivers flow through India-held Kashmir but most of the water is allotted to Pakistan under an international treaty. The officials, however, said the move would not violate the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said a government task force is finalising details of the water project, which he has made a priority.

Experts say New Delhi is using water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in dispute over Kashmir

“The ball has started rolling and we will see some results soon, most of them will be about building new storages in the basin,” one top official told BBC on condition of anonymity.

Another senior official said: “We are quite familiar with the terrain as we have already built a number of structures there.” But he added: “We are talking about few years here.”

The report quoted unnamed experts as saying Delhi was using the water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. There is also speculation that state polls in Indian Punjab could be a factor for the stepped up rhetoric.

India wants to “maximise” its use of water from the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers. Millions of people in the two countries depend on water in the rivers.

“An official with India’s water resources ministry insisted that this action would be ‘well within’ the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty,” the BBC said.

India reportedly began reviewing the treaty after a militant attack in India-held Kashmir in September in which 19 soldiers were killed.

New Delhi accused Islamabad of being behind the attack and relations deteriorated, leading to a rise in cross-border tensions.

The IWT was signed in 1960 and allocated the three eastern rivers — the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — of the Indus basin to India, while 80 per cent of the three western ones — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — was allotted to Pakistan.

India says it has not fully utilised the 20 per cent of water given to it in the three western rivers. Pakistan disputes this.

Officials in Delhi said the IWT allowed India to irrigate 1.4 million acres of land using water from those rivers. But they say only 800,000 acres are irrigated at present.

They added that the building of hydropower projects would also be accelerated.

India currently generates around 3,000MW of hydroelectricity from the western rivers, but the Indus basin is said to have a potential of nearly 19,000MW.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2016


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Comments (125) Closed

Indus civilization Dec 23, 2016 08:12am

Go ahead... Good luck

hyder Dec 23, 2016 08:13am

Good brotherly relation with India is in Pakistan's interest.

Pessimist Dec 23, 2016 08:17am

Tit for tat?

deva Dec 23, 2016 08:22am

You cannot ignore Modi's warnings and statement. He is having vision and courage to do the tough things

Vasan Dec 23, 2016 08:27am

For 70 years India committed and obliged the agreement made with IWT, hope Pakistan agree with that, we never touched this topic in the past. It is time now for our own growth. In the past India never used 20% capacity as per the agreement. Due to the climate change and make our own improvement in our region it is time to revise the agreement based on the climate change, lack of rain fall, own development and we should come with some sort of reasonable agreement that is good for both our countries and let our region also develop with agriculture, so that socio-economic grown can happen and that can give job opportunity for the youth, so that they don't have to protest and fight in the streets, because they have job and daily life. We expect fullest support and co-operation from our Pakistani brothers and sisters, and we let us develop and prosper together. Thank you.

Veer Singh Dec 23, 2016 08:32am

"The officials, however, said the move would not violate the Indus Waters Treaty"

Well, that's the only thing that really matters!

bond Dec 23, 2016 08:33am

As long as storage and irrigation is under IWT limits, nobody should have a objection.

Foreman Dec 23, 2016 08:41am

May day for all those against construction of Kala Bagh Dam. Now get ready to face the orchestra with same zeal and vigour.

Rules Of the game Dec 23, 2016 08:44am

MODI works relentlessly.

Salim Dec 23, 2016 08:44am

As per treaty Indis can use 29% of the water for its use and after 56 years it is planning to fully utilize it. Anything wrong with it?

Asif Dec 23, 2016 09:16am

Instead talking.. Pakistan government needs to do the same like India is doing.. building dams.. so that there will be lesser water wastage..

Rah Dec 23, 2016 09:13am

This will help water deprives Kashmiries to have water for drinking, irrigation. Thank you India to help us Kashmiries.

AXH Dec 23, 2016 09:20am

If Pakistani politicians of the past were smart and patriotic, they would have foreseen this coming. You can expect anything, irrespective of how low it is, from India.

D. Thakur Dec 23, 2016 09:24am

India must utilize her share of water, under IWT, to maximum extent. This treaty though allows Pakistan to use 80% water but we are not even tapping our 20% to its maximum level. That too is allowed to flow through to Pakistan.

DK PAMNANI Dec 23, 2016 09:24am

Let us restructured this Indus Water Treaty. Long ago it was signed. Now time has changed, restructure and sign it early to avoid any tensions.

Simpla Dec 23, 2016 09:31am

Pak should learn to take things calmly. What if India uses /stores its share of the water as per the terms of the IWT1960? Being friendly with India will be beneficial to Pakistan in the long run.

A Dec 23, 2016 09:48am

" The ball has started rolling and all will see some results soon, most of them will be about building new storages in the basin "

Why Pakistan is not seen doing anything seriously to once again start the bilateral talks. Indian PM has shown sincere intentions on taking Oath to improve relationship which no one can deny.

point of view Dec 23, 2016 09:54am

"The officials, however, said the move would not violate the Indus Waters Treaty". This statement is good enough to close the argument.

DR.SALARIA , AAMIR AHMAD Dec 23, 2016 10:03am

What else can they do ?

Truth Dec 23, 2016 10:02am

Looks like our Govt is sleeping regarding protecting Pakistan rights under Indus Water Treaty. We are likely to wake up from our slumber when matters cross critical stage.

iqbal Dec 23, 2016 10:03am

so whats wrong .. even if india abbrogates treaty lot of water will flow into pakistan

kamal Dec 23, 2016 10:06am

India has full right to use its share of water from IWT. However, if Pakistan does not want to happen then Pakistan can ask to re-negotiate the treaty.

Funny guy Dec 23, 2016 10:11am

If the steps are WELL WITHIN THE TREATY... I dont think Pakistan should worry.

AMIT SHARMA Dec 23, 2016 10:12am

enough water for both, no need of rhetoric.

tamil Dec 23, 2016 10:16am

PM should ensure these waters reach parched lands in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra,Karnataka,Andra Pradesh and other states which are reeling under successive droughts which have caused misery and huge crop losses and due to which farmers are under huge debt and committing suicides on a massive scale. These rivers can sustain the India's growth story ,if we fail to use these waters properly, we may become another Afghanistan.

tamil Dec 23, 2016 10:13am

PM should ensure these waters reach parched lands in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra,Karnataka,Andra Pradesh and other states which are reeling under successive droughts which have caused misery and huge crop losses and due to which farmers are under huge debt and committing suicides on a massive scale. These rivers can sustain the India's growth story ,if we fail to use these waters properly, we may become another Afghanistan.

Sreenivasa Rajiv Dec 23, 2016 10:29am

If Law of the Land permits, nothing wrong in this move.

Samrat Dec 23, 2016 10:30am

The article itself says 'move will not violate IWT', so end of discussion.

Samrat Dec 23, 2016 10:30am

India is just using its own quota of water, earlier we were giving it all to PAK but now only the allotted 80%, not a % more.

Khwarezmi Dec 23, 2016 10:37am

The irony is: water originating from Kashmir and flowing south to Pakistan are all Muslims lands. Kashmir which was destined to gain independence with Pakistan was instead occupied by India and is now being used as a weapon against 220 million Pakistanis.

a Dec 23, 2016 10:40am

Well well....That is some gud news

Mandeep Dec 23, 2016 10:44am

We are committed to use our resources to the fullest without undermining IWT.

South Asia Dec 23, 2016 10:41am

Water is he basic need for people. Indian govt. will only use its share of water that has been allotted to it by the Treaty.

deb Dec 23, 2016 10:47am

Great facts and appreciate bringing this in front of readers, most of whom are not aware. Thank you Dawn editorial team.

giri Dec 23, 2016 10:47am

Inevitable move by India. That water belongs to us.

ahmad Dec 23, 2016 10:47am

And here the two genius brothers not building even a single dam, they are after orange metros and flyovers, while pakistan is worst effected by environmental problems.

Imran Dec 23, 2016 10:47am

and our response is to allow bollywood movies once again.

Rashid Dec 23, 2016 10:52am

India is allotted 20% of the river water but only uses 2%. I'm afraid they're not violating any norms of the treaty if they use up more water as suggested. Modi seems to be a great strategist for their country. We desperately need one like that..

Aslam Shaikh Dec 23, 2016 10:54am

Very good efforts by India for Kashmiri people

Shri Dec 23, 2016 10:55am

We love Modi. He is protecting our interests.

kanwarch Dec 23, 2016 10:58am

Not a bad idea. If India can use water for irrigation and power then it is good. Water is going into Ocean anyways. Our incompetent politicians might learn something and our voters might think to vote better people in power next time.All is good.

the Mohajir Dec 23, 2016 10:59am

Another failed diplomacy of our diplomats.

Indian4rmblore Dec 23, 2016 11:11am

Wow, this s wat we are, wat we say we do it. Complete the project. God is with us

jamil ahmed Dec 23, 2016 11:11am

India is playing with fire. I really expected some maturity from a such a big country but their minds are stuck in past. Now Pakistan will rely more on China for safety. West Asia will remain out of reach for India.

Amit Dec 23, 2016 11:21am

@jamil ahmed you should read between the lines India has been alloted to use 20% water and 80% is for Pakistan now if in past India was not utilising 20℅ it was negligence now if they are taking measures to utilise its potential what's wrong ? If say it crosses 20℅ limit then it will be violation and beleave me India won't so up to 20℅ is with in the treaty

Desi Dimag Dec 23, 2016 11:26am

I hope Pakistan will not drain the waters in the sea and build dams to store it like India.

Tamil Dec 23, 2016 11:37am

For 70 years we did not have such bad situation with neighbors, but now with this PM, from Gujarat, we are being pushed in direction we dont like. This may lead to a catastrophic war. Why we Tamil dragged into other peoples agenda. Why water in Kashmir is anything to do with us. Next election this man will be out for sure. No one wants conflict.

cricket lover Dec 23, 2016 11:40am

@Funny guy Steps being taken by India are not within treaty. It is a total violation of treaty.

Johny Dec 23, 2016 11:39am

If no violation then no dispute. India is moving smartly.

Niks Dec 23, 2016 11:43am

Before you come to wrong conclusion it clearly says india is trying to optimize is share of water from Indus water treaty.

Akhand Bharat Dec 23, 2016 11:43am

Well short term gains are equally important as long term ones. For past 60 years, we have been working on the longer term. Time to work on the short term also, while keeping sights at longer term vision. India is a democracy and if it has to learn anything, it should look at the west, rather than PRC.

SadFaces Dec 23, 2016 11:53am

This shows how incompetent our government is when building proper basins for our country.

Samrat Dec 23, 2016 11:59am

@Tamil keep dreaming, he will be relected.

CHACHARAJ Dec 23, 2016 11:59am

@Salim All well

tamil Dec 23, 2016 12:03pm

National integration of all rivers should be implemented on priority, there are droughts and floods in various places at same time, by diverting water from flooded regions to drought affected regions India can make maximum utilization ,we need all the water we can get,

Sal Dec 23, 2016 12:16pm

These are emotional decisions by Modi govt. In western worlds, this may not fly but due to their economic expansion in India, western world may not intervene.

Samrat Dec 23, 2016 12:24pm

@Sal more than decision, the reaction seems emotional.

Sarwar, USA. Dec 23, 2016 12:23pm

Not so straight forward... What hidden agenda is there needed to be understood. Pakistan needs to build more dams.

Indian Dec 23, 2016 12:28pm

Good move by the Government of India. We should use all water mandated to us under IWT.

kanwarch Dec 23, 2016 12:31pm

India and Pakistan should work together to make sure no water is wasted. Indians should forget about punishing Pakistan while using water as a weapon as desperate situations then require desperate measures which will not be beneficial for Indians as well. You know what I am referring to

rana Dec 23, 2016 12:33pm

@hyder. in the interest of india as well.

Pradeep Dec 23, 2016 12:52pm

Why such discrimination with us ... The share of the water should be in equal proportion.... I think modi should immediately declare the agreement null and void and equal distribution of water should be the only way out

Jim Beam Dec 23, 2016 12:51pm

@Khwarezmi What are you going to fo about it?

srini Dec 23, 2016 12:57pm

" The officials, however, said the move would not violate the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)."

Then why the fuss? Dec 23, 2016 12:57pm

@Tamil ..But I am happy with his initiative. INDIA needs a PM like him.

SAIF Zulfiqar. Dec 23, 2016 01:02pm

@Vasan, And for 70 years India has refused to abide UN resolutions on the settlement of Kashmir.

rana Dec 23, 2016 01:05pm

@tamil. God has not given much water to these states how modi can divert this water to these lands.

aslam shaikh1 Dec 23, 2016 01:14pm

Where are the supporters of Aman ki aasha now?

Waseem Dec 23, 2016 01:25pm

India is not using its share for years? Seriously? . As expected.. modi is bringing war to indo pak.

Erdogan Dec 23, 2016 01:56pm

Shareef brothers totally failed in all foreign and national affairs

bashir kashmiri Dec 23, 2016 02:07pm

@AXH pakistan saw it coming long ago and thats why they want kashmir instead of improving their own house and building dams and water storage .

Samurai Dec 23, 2016 02:24pm

@Tamil where people of TN dragged in to this, you only jumping in to this. Kindly change your name, it brings shame to my mother tongue.

Samrat Dec 23, 2016 02:28pm

@Waseem just because he decides to use his share of water ?

Ahmed Dec 23, 2016 02:33pm

It's always about ego with Pakistan and India. Scoring one over another.

krishankant Dec 23, 2016 02:34pm

I have listen Modi ji's speech in this regard.

He clearly emphasized to tap Indian share of water.

KC Dec 23, 2016 02:46pm

Indus water treaty India has always stood by it even during wars of 1965,71 and 99 even if only 20% of water is given to India and 80% to Pakistan because Pakistan has no source of water elsewhere,But India has often not used it's entire quota of 20% water due to lack of infrastructure, but with proper infrastructure in place if India uses it's share of 20% entirely this would still reduce the supply of water to Pakistan as Global warming is reducing the total water flow.Than means 80%(plus unused Indian water) for a population of Pakistan in 1970 would be a lot more than 80%(Minus no surplus water) for population of Pakistan in 2016.Staying within the treaty the damage for Pakistan would still be significant because of which mutual understanding and negotiations are required.

AmiR Dec 23, 2016 02:45pm

Currently India is using only 10 percent of water share.

Even Pakistan is wasting 50% of the water.

DIVERGENCE Dec 23, 2016 02:53pm

India belongs to and is exhibiting "third class mentality" in the way it wishes to kill Pakistanis thirsty of water and how it is killing and blinding Kashmiris. That's the least I can say about India. It was predicted 10-15 years ago that future wars will be fought on water and India is clearly following that

Indian Dec 23, 2016 03:05pm

India needs modi for at least 10 more years ,I am happy with his work

sHYAM Dec 23, 2016 03:09pm

KC - Earlier there was an article in Dawn on water used under this treaty. The amount of water for Pakistan has not changed but its population has gone up by 5 times and Water /person has come down to 20%. But you can not blame India for that.

Zak from panama Dec 23, 2016 03:22pm


War over water is losing proposition and like burning the candle from both sides.

It is a fact that Pakistan has not made best use of its share. India even if increases use to 30% because of growing population it should not affect Pakistan if efficient irrigation systems are in place.

Further after CPEC , the country's economy will be more industrial and less agricultural.

PopnRolla Dec 23, 2016 03:43pm

Go ahead. You have our support.

zak Dec 23, 2016 04:03pm

@tamil Kashmir water belongs to nation of Kashmir and they will decide after UN plebiscite. Tamil, Gujarat, Karnatka are foreign countries not related Kashmir and far away from them.

LOHPURUSH Dec 23, 2016 04:50pm

Only Imran Khan has the spirit to take up any cause with NaMo now. Elect him next time.

a. Ali Dec 23, 2016 04:54pm

so india is brewing for some activity to lure Pak into their territorial boundaries... which I suspect they will never dream about.... hope so, they will not put hurdles for the water which belongs to Pak as per treaty making headlines around the globe...

Tamil Dec 23, 2016 04:59pm but why we taking other country water, that is called stealing. How if China take our water that come from there. Think before you speak for other states.

Zak Dec 23, 2016 05:03pm

@Vasan it's not your water, for 70 years kashmiris in IOK have been fighting to oust a foreign indian invader. Nothing will be changed as UN plebiscite is in near future.

Enkay Dec 23, 2016 05:14pm

@Khwarezmi : " 220 million Pakistanis." - Sir Ji I compliment you stating this Figure which is in my opinion about 230-240 Million.

Ahmed Dec 23, 2016 06:28pm

With large population and water scarcity, the water wars are going to be intensified in future. So far India is just claiming to maximize usage of its allowed water quota per the treaty. Instead of letting it go waste, why not use it for good purpose?

Bimal Dec 23, 2016 06:44pm

The treaty was signed in 1960 and expired 10 years back. India has fulfilled its commitment. Now India is not bound by any treaty nor any formal request has come from Pakistani side to extend for 20 or 30 India is free to use the water for its own benefit.

Khwarezmi Dec 23, 2016 08:30pm

@Enkay That is millions of unreported and unregistered people. Pakistan took over Brazil as the 5th largest nation a few years ago and has had same population as the I dian state of UP. Please break down state-level population figures?

salim Dec 23, 2016 08:44pm

@Khwarezmi popullation of UP is 200 million.

Sameer Dec 23, 2016 08:58pm

Thank you for the dams...Kashmir will be free anyway.

Sameer Dec 23, 2016 08:58pm

@deva but does he have the courage to do right things?

Etna Dec 23, 2016 09:45pm

Poll or no poll in Punjab, the land is in dire need of water. If Modi takes up Indus water as a campaign point, don't be surprised if BJP wins. It is more about necessity than politics.

Shabdik Dec 23, 2016 10:02pm

Is that affects on Pakistan?

Ravi..Indian Dec 23, 2016 10:11pm

@zak India should revisit IWT under leadership of great statesman PM Modi.

Chacha Jee Dec 23, 2016 10:40pm

@ahmad They are building Jangla Bus and now Light Rails to run on subsidy.. means money coming from other cities and province. Now Lahore can't have no dam. Just remember the old jute story.

Bk Dec 23, 2016 11:03pm

Water is essential for every human being Whether it is Indian or Pakistani So it should be use in such a way that it could not harm anybody.

KJ Dec 23, 2016 11:22pm

With so much water available, much more than what both sides have ever used, or will ever use, what is this fuss about?? It seems this issue is not about water; it is about the chronic animosity between the two countries. Water just happens to be a convenient excuse to go against each other.

Thinker Dec 23, 2016 11:42pm

Pakistan don't have to worry. China is developing canal parallel to CPEC roadways to provide water from the Yangtze river. China is our Iron brother...

Love putin Dec 23, 2016 11:47pm

@Zak wake up...the world has moved on since you read your cooked up history book. Tomorrow you will want Bradford to become part of Pakistan because UK occupied Pakistani territory in U.K.

Afzal guru Dec 23, 2016 11:55pm

There is enough for everyone. India cannot drink all the water nor can Pakistan. Its all rhetoric that exploit sentiments on both sides.

Hopeful Dec 24, 2016 12:15am

@deva How is this going to resolve Kashmir issue?

Hopeful Dec 24, 2016 12:18am

@Rah How is this going to resolve Kashmir issue?

Thor Dec 24, 2016 12:40am

@DIVERGENCE, India cannot use 20% of alloted Indus water? Immature thinking! It should be 50-50%

RAHUL Patil pune Dec 24, 2016 01:23am

Great work Modi ji

Zak Dec 24, 2016 01:40am

@Love putin we only want kashmiris to decide their destiny as UN promised plebiscite and pakistan and India agreed. Don't babble, just learn to honour other nations humans and promises you make. That's called integrity.

Really Dec 24, 2016 03:01am

@Tamil For 70 years we did not have such bad situation with neighbors, but now with this PM, from Gujarat, we are being pushed in direction we dont like. This may lead to a catastrophic war. Why we Tamil dragged into other peoples agenda. Why water in Kashmir is anything to do with us. Next election this man will be out for sure. No one wants conflict. we all know you are a fake Tamil we Indians love our PM .

Joydeep Bhattacharya Dec 24, 2016 03:27am

The subject did not say "In Indian Waters....from the 20%".........Peace!!!

gabbar Dec 24, 2016 03:35am

@Tamil --There are more Tamils outside Tamil Nadu, spread throughout India, than inside- it is one country for crying out loud!!

Salil Dec 24, 2016 03:33am

@DIVERGENCE We Indians just plan to use our part of the water what is the problem with that? Please explain

Salil Dec 24, 2016 03:38am

@Sal what's emotional about planning for more water for a growing population?

Philosopher(from Australia) Dec 24, 2016 05:22am

@SAIF Zulfiqar. Oh really!! What is in UN RESOLUTION 47 first steps. Could you please tell us.

Jaago Dec 24, 2016 05:52am

@zak your castles in the air and alternate history knowledge is sarcasm. Btw, that's sarcasm.

john cool Dec 24, 2016 06:42am

@Asif Instead talking.. Pakistan government needs to do the same like India is doing.. building dams.. so that there will be lesser water wastage..

Or better still have good relation with India regarding economic betterment for both countries.Start by improving water management by having good infrastructure as most water entering Pakistan is lost to Arabian sea. Respect clean water by stopping industrial waste entering the the water system,built water storage's and dams etc etc. Put Kashmir on back burner for time being and prosper for sake of the poor in south Asia.

Ahsan Dec 24, 2016 04:03pm

At the end of the day, these rivers belong to Jammu and Kashmir. Since Hindustan is forcibly and illegally occupying the land , so technically cannot claim or built anything on the said waters. So this ends any debate on legal, technical or moral grounds. Let's not forget that soon to be freed Jammu and Kashmir can tomorrow also devoid Hindustan from waters of jamna / Ganges , as main tributaries originate from their mountain ranges.

aslam shaikh1 Dec 24, 2016 05:16pm

@Aslam Shaikh stealing water is helpful for Kashmiri people??

Riazullah Baig Dec 24, 2016 07:40pm

meanwhile sharifs and zardaris building financial avenues to store water and produce electricity.

KH Dec 24, 2016 08:23pm

@Imran, your statement is unwise. If bollywood movies not screened, which still not confirmed by Indian distributors, Pakistani cinemas will need to close down incurring millions in loses while the film industry in Pakistan go for a toss.

Yuvaraj Dec 25, 2016 06:38pm

Good analysis....

Bishan Dec 25, 2016 07:41pm

India will not take away water that Pakistan uses for irrigation, drinking, or storage, but what is going into the sea bcoz Pakistan has no infrastructure to use it. Also it will be within India's entitlement under IWT. There is no occasion for a dispute. The two countries should co-operate in building up infrastructure to optimise delivery and costs.

satya prakash Dec 25, 2016 08:08pm

Right now india was not utilizing it share of water .what is wrong if she think to use it.

Bakhsh Dec 25, 2016 10:33pm

I fear if there is some mechanism to measure the exact quantity of water usurped by India from the western rivers.Before going to utilize any quantity of water India is supposed to provide Pak with the evidence that it is using only the 20 percent of the water as provided in the IWT

Someone Dec 26, 2016 01:35pm

It's a big scam. What checks and balances are there to ensure the water used is exactly 20%? Even structurally, it is not possible to ensure when you build the reservoirs over the basin. Pakistan can hold India liable if it overuses the water.