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Pakistan makes it clear that it will not accept any Modifications or Changes to Indus Water Treaty

Tensions over the water dispute increased late last month when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan

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Indo Pak border at Neelum Valley. All tributaries of Indus will affected by Indus Water Treaty. Wikimedia

Islamabad, December 17, 2016: Fearing that India is buying time to complete two disputed water projects, Pakistan made it clear that it would not accept any modifications or changes to the Indus Water Treaty after New Delhi said on Friday it was ready to bilaterally resolve its differences with Islamabad over the pact’s implementation.

The treaty, signed in 1960, gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin – the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej – while Pakistan has the three western rivers- the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

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The IWT also sets up a mechanism, the Permanent Indus Commission, which includes a commissioner from each country.

Talking to Dawn here on Friday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi said: “Pakistan will not accept any modifications or changes to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. Our position is based on the principles enshrined in the treaty. And the treaty must be honoured in…letter and spirit”.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vikas Swarup, told reporters in New Delhi that the resolution process required more time.

“India has always believed that the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty, which includes the redressal of the technical questions and differences, should be done bilaterally between India and Pakistan,” he said. “We believe that these consultations should be given adequate time.”

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India’s request for more time, however, alarmed Pakistan. Islamabad argued that India used the same strategy on previous occasions, completing a project during the dispute and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified.

The current dispute revolves around the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants. India is building the plants on the Kishanganga and Chenab Rivers, which Pakistan says violate the IWT.

Tensions over the water dispute increased late last month when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan. International experts fear that the threat, if implemented, could lead to armed clashes between the two sides.

New Delhi sought the appointment of a “neutral expert” while Islamabad asked the World Bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration. The IWT recognises the World Bank as an arbitrator.

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Pakistanis argue that the designs of the two Indian projects violate both legal and technical provisions of the treaty. India, however, opposes Pakistan’s effort for setting up a court of arbitration.

The disagreement persuaded the World Bank to announce earlier this week that it was temporarily “pausing” its arbitration and it was doing so to protect the treaty. (IANS)

Next Story

The Rafale Deal: Corporate Rivalry Impacting National Interest

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie's dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on 'India's strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal'.Pixabay

A recent European Union intelligence sharing exercise with India has revealed that Lockheed Martin, the US-headquartered company which manufactures the F-16 fighter jets, has been up to mischief mongering on the Rafale issue.

The Rafale jets, which India wants, is manufactured by the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, a rival of Lockheed Martin.

That Lockheed Martin could be working in the shadows to sour the Rafale deal for India so that it could move in with its own deal was validated when Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s high-profile head of strategy and India operations, said that the company was in the process of finalising the sale of 200 fighters to India.

During the UPA regime, the government had signed an MoU for 126 Rafale fighter jets to replenish a major shortcoming in air defence preparedness because the Indian Air Force did not have quality fighter jets. When the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, this deal was revised and an inter-government deal was struck to receive 36 fully-loaded Rafale jets. The controversy now raging in India is related to the pricing for the fighters negotiated by the NDA.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’. Pixabay

In December when the Rafale case came before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that processes were generally followed over the procurement. He also noted that the controversy had been triggered by comments by former French President Francois Hollande over the selection of the offset partner and that mere comments could not form the basis for a probe.

However, this has not prevented the Rafale purchase controversy from becoming a high-octane political battle between the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Repeatedly over the past few months and more stridently now in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has led a no-holds barred attack on the government and the Prime Minister specifically on the issue. From the earlier public disinterest on the controversy, it is now now getting some traction — the Congress party believes this could be possible because it has relentlessly raised the matter at all public forums.

Bringing up the case of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was said to be part of the orhestrated plan to present the case of the American companies while also appearing nationalistic. In the government’s estimate, HAL’s record is abysmal and it cannot be given a big responsibility like building fighter jets — more so in the light of the safety record of MiG fighters purchased from Russia and made under licence from HAL.

The BJP-led government at the Centre believes — and it is certain it has evidence of this — that the Congress party is doing this as it has become a party to corporate rivalry between the US and French aerospace companies. For the record, Lockheed Martin is believed to have found a sympathetic ally in another US aerospace major, Boeing, which manufactures the F-18. Dassault has another rival in French manufacturer Airbus Industrie, which is associated with BAE for the manufacture of the Eurofighter. It is also angling for a fighter jet contract with India.

Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on the government over the Rafale issue started after his visit to the US in August 2017 when he met several defence lobbyists, CEOs of US defence companies and Pentagon officials.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’.

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Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Pixabay

The government’s efforts to trace the footprints of the dramatis personae at the forefront of the campaign to target the government over the Rafale deal has produced surprising results. It has found what it believes are eye-opening linkages between Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie — who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court accusing the Prime Minister of corruption in the deal — and arms dealers and defence manufacturers. At least in one case, the linkages show deep connections between members of Shourie’s family with aerospace companies, arms dealers and defence lobbies.

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie’s dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

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The government is also aware of the links between a top BJP leader’s son-in-law and a French manufacturer. The son-in-law is said to be advising Rahul Gandhi and is believed to be making government documents available to him for the campaign against Rafale.

Lockheed Martin’s alleged actions to work the political ecosystem to pull down the Rafale procurement deal also has a larger strategic context. Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.  (IANS)