In an apparent reference to row over Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has warned against use of water as an instrument of coercion or war and asserted that international community must remain vigilant to any sign of unwillingness to maintain cooperation on resolving water issues.
“The international community must assume a responsibility to develop, nurture and protect normative frameworks, at multilateral and bilateral levels, to ensure that states remain willing to resolve water issues cooperatively,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said in her address to the UN Security Council during an open debate on water, peace and security.
“It must promote bilateral and regional agreements on waterways; and once they are evolved, ensure that they are not undermined through unilateral or coercive measures,” Lodhi said as she described the India-Pak Indus Water Treaty of 1960, with the World Bank as guarantor, a model of what can be achieved through bilateral agreements.
“But this Treaty is equally a good case study of what could go wrong if such agreements are not honoured or threatened by one of the state parties to be abrogated altogether.
The international community must remain vigilant to any sign of unwillingness to maintain cooperation and be willing act to avert any conflict,” Lodhi said.
In his address, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also mentioned Indus Water Treaty, saying it withstood frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including wars.
“In the second half of the 20th century, more than 200 water treaties were successfully negotiated. International river agreements have enhanced security and stability in river basins,” he said.
“The 1960 Indus Waters agreement between India and Pakistan has famously survived at least two wars and numerous clashes and diplomatic crises,” Ban said.
The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission which includes a commissioner from each of the two countries.
It also sets out a process for resolving so-called “questions”, “differences” and “disputes” that may arise between the parties.
He said management of more than 200 international rivers and at least that many transboundary aquifers was especially important.