In 2002, after disputes regarding the Tulbul Navigation Project and familiar media hype about whether the Indus water treaty should be cancelled, the late Ramaswamy R Iyer decided that it might “be useful to put the [his] position down in writing”.
Even in 2002, Iyer writes in the past tense, assuming that the idea of cancelling the treaty for punishing Pakistan is past the scope of real discussion and would not benefit India on moral, legal or more importantly, practical grounds.
Since, similar arguments that Iyer dismissed 14 years ago have been now invoked to call for immediate action and revenge against Pakistan,
it is useful to look at Iyer’s argumentation about what a treaty means, whether it is right to abrogate a water treaty as a measure of punishment,
and his assertion that even if we cancel the treaty in the zeal of pronouncing a punishment to Pakistan, the hardship inflicted on Pakistan will be limited and temporary, while the retention of the waters will create trouble for India.