In an unprecedented move, India has issued a notice to Pakistan for modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) — a bilateral agreement that was signed in September 1960 and survived three wars, the Kargil conflict, and the terror attacks in Mumbai and Kashmir. Sources said Pakistan’s “intransigence” forced India to issue the notice of modification and update the treaty to “incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years”.
This would effectively mean that the treaty can be opened for re-negotiations for the first time in over six decades.The objective of the notice for modification is to provide Pakistan an opportunity to enter into intergovernmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of IWT,” the sources said.Sources said the notice was conveyed by India to Pakistan on January 25 through the respective Commissioners for Indus Waters according to Article XII (3) of the IWT. The Article states:
“The provisions of this Treaty may from time to time be modified by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments. ”Late Friday, Pakistan said that “a Court of Arbitration is holding its first hearing in The Hague” on its objections to two hydroelectric power projects in J&K and attention should not be diverted from “the important proceedings”. Sources in Delhi said that while India has always been a “steadfast supporter” and a “responsible partner” in implementing the treaty in letter and spirit, Pakistan’s actions have “adversely impinged” on its provisions and their implementation.
The notice is the latest twist in a sequence of events that began in 2015, when Pakistan requested for the appointment of a “Neutral Expert” to examine its technical objections to the Kishanganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs). In 2016, Pakistan retracted this request and proposed that a Court of Arbitration adjudicate on its objections.