IWT and Indo-Pak relations: ‘More dialogue required to understand treaty’

Former diplomat and chancellor Central University of Jammu (CUJ) G.
IWT and Indo-Pak relations: ‘More dialogue required to understand treaty’
Representational Pic

Former diplomat and chancellor Central University of Jammu (CUJ) G. Parthasarathy on Friday said people in India and Pakistan have little knowledge about the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), which often results in controversies whenever some hydro project is constructed over the rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.

He added that more deliberations, national consensus and holistic approach are needed to deal with the contentious IWT and other issues of river waters.

Welcoming the visit by a team of Pakistan Commission for Indus Waters officials to Jammu and Kashmir recently, which had came to inspect hydro-power projects on Chenab River, he said, "More deliberation and dialogues are required on the issue to understand the subject."

"If a dialogue can't succeed in solving the problems, it at least prevents the situation from worsening," said the noted expert, who has worked with various governments at the Centre.

On politicization of IWT, he said, "We should be careful with our words. The sweeping statements are no solution to any problem. We have to look into the issue (IWT) holistically. If they (J&K politicians) say that the state is the worst sufferers of IWT, I would like to draw their attention towards what has happened in border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan where millions of people were dislocated in military action and cities were bombed. Have a million people left their homes in J&K?"

Parthasarthy was in town to participate in a daylong national security seminar on the theme "Transboundary Issues in South Asia—Indus Water Treaty and Indo-Pak relations", being organised by the Central University of Jammu on Saturday. The seminar will be inaugurated by Governor Satya Pal Malik.

He said the decision to hold a seminar on such sensitive issues was taken to promote greater awareness among people on river waters and hydroelectric potential.

"I don't think enough studies are there on Indus Water Rivers. We decided to start promoting greater awareness on river waters and hydroelectric potential," said Parthasarthy.

He said "an understanding of foreign policy would entail a measure of continuity and national consensus".

"You cannot deal with river water issues without national consensus. By and large, various governments have observed (it). Everybody (previous governments) has his own contribution vis-à-vis IWT in the then prevailing situation. River water is a crucial issue. We will keep the seminar purely on expert level. Some speakers from Indian Commission for Indus Waters will also deliberate on the subject," Parthasarthy said.

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