ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Indus Waters Treaty and Baglihar Project

The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) has worked well, despite tensions and war, primarily because the upper riparian has discharged all its bilateral treaty obligations in good faith. Presumably, one can understand the IWT better if it is read in light of the internationally recognised customary rules on water sharing, including principles of equitable and reasonable utilisation, which are decisive in the absence of a bilateral water treaty. The State is not responsible for factual injury but only for legal injury in this field. The World Court applied the UN Convention on International Watercourses before its entry into force in order to resolve the dam dispute between Hungary and Slovakia. This is instructive for the Baglihar project dispute. Having a protocol to IWT is legally permissible, provided that the renegotiation of IWT for concluding a protocol is undertaken on a functional plane devoid of political aspects and strictly conforming to the IWT. This will help incorporate the contemporary principles of international watercourse law, including all customary principles in this field. This is crucial to balance the rights and duties of the riparian states and for the holistic and integrated water resources management of the Indus river system.

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