By Naveed Tajamal

The flow of Indus Basin Rivers

The article lll of the above mentioned treaty, binds the Government of India not to hinder the flow of the western rivers, i.e. Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, to Pakistan, and India cannot store any water or construct any storage works, on the above cited rivers, having been given total rights since march 1973,of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, we get flood surplus of these rivers which is released in case of excessive rains, which helps in recharging our ground waters levels, but that too will cease after the second Ravi-Beas Link is made.

Today while we slumber, India has started works on, the following projects; Pakal Dul 1000MW, Kiru 600MW,Karwar 520 MW, Baglihar (eventual 900MW),Sawalkot 1200MW (two 600mw units),Salal 390 MW, Sewa-ll 120 MW, and finally the Bursur project on the Marusudar river, which, is a major tributary of Chenab river, here the Foxland intends to build a massive water storage dam, which will control and regulate the flow to maintain levels of Pakal dul, Dul Hasti, Rattle, Baglihar, Sawalkot and Salal Hydro-projects, on the Chenab.

Jhelum will be blessed by the foxland with Kishanganga 330MW and Uri-ll 240MW.

The trillion Dollar Question remains that safe guard the interests of our country. As has been seen, after the failure of Foreign Secretary level talks on the Baglihar dam, on the Chenab, between 4-6 January 2005, the GOP contacted the World Bank, to resolve the issue with Foxland, however the feed back of World Bank was well said, as per their letter dated 19 January 2005, to GOP, nutshell being, World Bank is indeed a signatory of the Indus treaty 1960, but, it is Not the ”Guarantor” of the treaty!!!!

  The Brave To Be Saluted!

However we did go for a case against the Baglihar dam, But we lost it due to gross professional  INCOMPETENCE of our Team, the GOP had hired the services of a white man, a lawyer, by the name of Mr. James Crawford, who forgot to bring the Memorials of the case during the final hearing of the case !!!

Now Nehru had, in the past, hired the services of an outstanding German international Lawyer and an expert on river waters, a Professor F.J. Berber, and for years till the signing of the Indus Water Treaty, he remained an employee of Foxland, though he did join the Munich University later, but remained a Consultant of GOI (govt. of India).

The works, of P.J. Berber translated in English i.e, Rivers in international Law’ to date remains an authority, the London Institute of World Affairs, had the book published.

The other reason why Nehru had the date of ratification of Indus treaty, back dated from September 1960 to 1st April, was because on 1st April 1948, they had shut down our waters, from the UBDC!!!

Two sets of laws govern the water disputes, first is the Harmon Doctrine, named after, a ”Judson Harmon”, who was the Attorney General of USA in 1895,when arose a dispute between Mexico and USA over the usage of RIO GRANDE waters, Mexico was a lower riparian, the doctrine above cited gives ”ABSOLUTE TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY;” to the upper riparian, as goes the usage of water resources passing through its lands, though the matter was resolved, by a convention held between USA and Mexico, on may 21, 1906,by which Mexico got its share of waters.

  Confronting Madness!

Indus valley river system is an ‘International Drainage Basin’, as the geographical area extends and covers the Administrative boundaries of more then two states, from Afghanistan to Chinese administered Tibet, in the north east, and to Indian occupied Kashmir. Technically India cannot claim sovereignty over Kashmir as it remains a disputed state, and matter in reference before the world courts, having over a million troops holding it.

The ILA (international Law Association) drafted in 1966, a set of rules, called as ”THE HELSINKI RULES’’, the said rules define the perimeters  in case of water related disputes, in the cases where the Drainage of a Basin is International, as stated above, eleven main points/clauses govern the rights of a lower riparian, they being briefly, all about the geography of the Basin, extent of Drainage, and area in the territory of each basin state, the Hydrology of the Basin, past history of water flow, population dependent on the waters, economic and social needs of each Basin state, and the degree to which the needs of a Basin state may be satisfied without causing injury to a co-basin state !!

India as is seen follows the HARMON DOCTRINE, while we twiddle our thumbs!!!!


Naveed Tajamal is a historian and an expert on Indus Civilisation. He has been researching for the past 25 years and

Naveed Tajamal

given lectures besides writing for the Newspapers.

Naveed Tajamal is Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker and a regular contributor to it.