UN court to rule on Indus River dispute

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague dismissed India's objections concerning its authority to address the ongoing Indus River disputes between India and Pakistan on July 6. The ruling reinstates a case that had been impeded for several years. Pakistan asserts that India's proposed hydroelectric energy projects will substantially diminish the Indus' flow, negatively affecting Pakistani agriculture. Pakistan initiated legal proceedings against India in 2016, seeking arbitration to address the issue. India raised objections regarding the jurisdiction of the PCA.

In 1960, India and Pakistan entered into the Indus Waters Treaty, which continues to be the subject of numerous disputes. India maintains its stance that the treaty does not prohibit hydroelectric construction. Pakistan asserts that such actions fundamentally contradict the essence and intent of the treaty by altering the river's flow.

Pakistan harbors concerns not only regarding the construction of energy-generating stations but also the potential for manipulation by India. A notable instance occurred in 2019 when India redirected substantial volumes of river flow to Indian states, thereby obstructing Pakistan's access to the shared water resources. This action was seen as a retaliatory measure over Pakistan's alleged involvement in the 2019 Pulwama attack, a suicide bombing that killed 39 people in Kashmir.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has refrained from delineating the precise timetable for the proceedings.

From Jurist, July 7. Used with permission.

See our last reports on the Pulwama attack and struggle for the Indus.