• Short Summary

    For 12 years the Indus waters have been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

  • Description

    For 12 years the Indus waters have been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. At last, negotiations have been successfully concluded, and Sept 19 Indian Premier Nehru is to go to Karachi, Pakistan, for the signing of an Indus waters agreement between the two countries.

    The treaty is based on a plan put forward by the World Bank, whose President, Mr. Eugene Black, met Mr Nehru in New Delhi, May 13, 1959, to discuss the Bank's latest proposals for solving the dispute. It was then that the Bank proposed the Indus settlement plan to ensure both countries of sufficient irrigation water for their agricultural developments.

    There have been other reapproachements between India and Pakistan, too. Last July 12, there took place in New Delhi, amid much ceremonial, the installation of Pakistan's first High Commissioner in India since the setting up of diplomatic relations over a year ago. Pakistan's new chief representative in India is Mr. Ummar Hayat Khan Malik.

    Earlier milestones in the improvement of relations were President Ayub Khan's lightning visit to Delhi Sept 1, 1959. It was when the border dispute with China was at its electric climax, and Ayub Khan - en route between East and West Pakistan - had a meeting with Nehru in an atmosphere of great friendliness. They decided a new effort should immediately be made, at high level, to find a solution for India-Pakistan border disputes and "incidents".

    Then, last March 21, a 2-year trade agreement was signed in Delhi -a further sign of the new era of better relations.

    In the Indus basin itself, overlapping West Pakistan and north west India, planned irrigation is of vital importance for the continuing fertility of large areas already under cultivation, and the reclamation of large desert tracts. Ayub Khan said recently that the flow of Indus waters was a matter of life or death for millions in Pakistan. India - an "upper riparian" country - has always been in a position to stop the flow of water.

    The Indus water dispute began in April, 1948, when India cut canal water supplies to Pakistan. Three years of direct negotiations were fruitless. In 1951 negotiations began under the auspices of the World Bank, and in 1954 the bank proposed that the three eastern rivers, and Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej be used by India and the three western rivers, the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab by Pakistan.

    Two large storage dams were provided for in the plan. One on the river Jhelum near Mangla, and the other on the river Indus near Tarbela, 15 miles from Haripur. The Mangla dam was to be 370 foot high and two miles long at its crest. Engineers said the dam would be one of the largest earth-filled dams in the world with a reservoir 36 miles long. It would submerge 68,000 acres and displace 85,000 people. The Tarbela dam - to be two miles long at its crest and 320 foot high - would be rock-filled and would submerge 34,000 acres, moving 40,000 people from 66 villages.

    The 10-year World Bank plan also provides for a system of irrigation canals. The cost of over GBP346 million will come from a World Bank fund financed by the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, West Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For the Indus area the future is promising. But for nearby Kashmir, claimed by both countries, there are so far no signs of agreement.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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