Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a tough stand after he chaired a meeting to review the Indus Water treaty with Pakistan amidst heightened tension between the two countries following the Uri terror strike.
“Blood and water cannot flow together,” said Modi during the meeting in New Delhi which was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, the Water Resources Secretary, and senior PMO officials.
An NDTV report quoted unnamed sources as saying that India wouldn’t be cancelling the treaty, but will “use fullest legal rights in the treaty” to send out a strong message to Pakistan.
The Modi government is planning on greater use of the “western rivers” that are controlled by Pakistan and to further this, India will expedite construction of three dams on River Chenab – Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam, reports news agency ANI.
#FLASH: India to expedite construction on 3 dams on River Chenab; Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam— ANI (@ANI_news) September 26, 2016
The debate over the 56-year-old treaty has cropped up after calls in India that the government should scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack which left 18 soldiers dead.
Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, the water from six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared by the two countries.
Pakistan has been complaining of not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in couple of cases. Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had said last week that his state will fully support whatever decision is taken by the Union government on the 1960 agreement.
“The treaty has caused huge loss to Jammu and Kashmir” as the people of the state cannot fully utilise the waters of various rivers, particularly Chenab in Jammu, for agricultural and other activities, Singh had said.
“The state government will support whatever decision is taken by the central government on Indus Waters Treaty,” he had said.
India had last week made it clear that “mutual trust and cooperation” was important for such a treaty to work