India has decided not to renew an agreement it signed with Pakistan in 1989 to share hydrological data during flood season, The Times of India reported on Thursday. New Delhi said it would provide information only on “extraordinary discharges and flood flows”.
The agreement was renewed every year with modifications whenever required. It was started based on India’s goodwill gesture.
“This agreement was not renewed in the current year by us,” PK Saxena, Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters, told the newspaper. He said the decision would not affect the long-standing Indus Waters Treaty between the two countries. “India as a responsible nation is committed to the provision of the IWT,” he added.
The decision came at a time of rising hostilities between the countries triggered by New Delhi’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month. On Tuesday, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the Centre had started the process of stopping water from flowing to Pakistan but added that the Indus Waters Treaty would not be violated. The day before, India had rejected Pakistan’s claims that it had not been informed about the release of water from a dam that could cause flooding in its territory. Islamabad accused New Delhi of waging “fifth-generation warfare” and alleged that the unexpected release of water into the Sutlej was an attempt to break the treaty.
Saxena said that according to the treaty, India needs to provide advance information when “extraordinary discharges of water from reservoirs and flood flows” can harm the other party.
The Indus Waters Treaty, drawn up in September 1960 and brokered by the World Bank, lays down rules for how the water of the Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be used. According to the pact, India controls Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan controls Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
New Delhi’s actions on August 5 were swiftly condemned by Islamabad, which downgraded diplomatic ties and ended bilateral trade. Since then, Pakistan has attempted to raise the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, saying India’s decisions were a threat to regional and global peace. On Tuesday, the Pakistan government said it would approach the International Court of Justice. A day later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan raised concerns about an imminent military escalation between the two nuclear powers.