Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 03:55 AM IST

Chances of India abrogating Indus Treaty very slim, says foreign policy expert

Updated: Sep 27, 2016 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 27 (ANI): With speculation rife over the possibility of India abrogating the Indus Water Treaty, 1960, to put pressure on Pakistan to end its state sponsorship of terrorism, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution India, Dhruva Jaishankar on Tuesday said chances of New Delhi doing away with the treaty are slim as costs for repudiating it would be significant.

Jaishankar told ANI, "The chances of this (abrogating the Indus Water Treaty) happening are very slim, as there are many costs to abrogating a longstanding treaty, including for India's relations with other neighbours."

When asked if the government's move to review the Indus Water Treaty puts pressure on Pakistan, Jaishankar said, "The meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty (yesterday) and its outcome suggest that the option is being explored for India to claim more water, but within the confines of the treaty. This may please some domestically, but is unlikely to pressure Pakistan. Many in Pakistan already believe that India is violating the treaty, which is untrue. Others have also blamed India for flooding Pakistan a few years ago."

Taking stock of the 56-year old treaty with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said "blood and water cannot flow at the same time".

India has said that it would expedite the construction on three dams on the Chenab River, namely the Pakul Dul, Sawalkot and Bursar. The decision came at the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi in the backdrop of the Uri terror attack last week.

According to sources, India will utilise "legal rights in the treaty to the fullest" and the construction on the Tulbul navigation project, the work on which was suspended in 2007, would also be reviewed.

India would use the potential of 18,000 megawatt of power from the western rivers under Indus Water Treaty, while an inter-ministerial taskforce for the Indian rights would be formed for western rivers under the treaty, said sources on the Prime Minister-Water Resources Ministry meet.

The treaty was inked in 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan, which allocates 80 percent of water to Pakistan from the six-river Indus Water System, including Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flows from India to Pakistan.

The treaty, brokered by the World Bank, is often considered to be one-sided and there has been growing clamour to relook at it. The pact has survived wars and phases of frosty ties between India and Pakistan.

Responding to a poser if India has effectively isolated Pakistan, Jaishankar said, "Not yet, although steps have been made in that direction. The shifting position of Afghanistan, the U.S., and the Gulf Arab states on Pakistan certainly indicates Islamabad's growing political isolation. On the other hand, China and even Russia have drawn closer, much to India's chagrin. Economically, Pakistan is not isolated. Its largest trade partner is the European Union. (ANI)