In another bold move after the Pulwama attack, the government has decided to stop India's share of water flowing to Pakistan. The water from Eastern rivers will now be diverted for supply to people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
"Under the leadership of Hon'ble PM Sri @narendramodi ji, Our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from Eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted on Thursday.
Pulwama Attack: In bold move, India stops flow of its share of water to Pak from rivers under Indus Treaty
"The construction of dam has started at Shahpur- Kandi on Ravi river. Moreover, UJH project will store our share of water for use in J&K and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states. All the above Projects are declared as the National projects," he added.
An official later clarified that it was not a "new decision" and that the Water Resources minister was "simply reiterating" what he has always said.
The reiteration to stop the flow of Indus water to Pakistan comes amid mounting Indo-Pak tension over the Pulwama terror strike that has triggered demands for action against the neighbouring country. India has already decided to revoke the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan and mounted a diplomatic offensive to isolate it in the international community.
"Regarding the tweet (by Gadkari) about Indus treaty, this is not a new decision. Mantriji is simply reiterating what he has always said. He is talking about diverting India's share of Indus water which was going to Pakistan - and he has always been saying this," Information Officer in-charge of Water Resources Ministry Neeta Prasad said when asked about the issue.
There were demands to stop flow of India's share of Indus water to Pakistan after the Uri terror attack in 2016.
Officials said the actual implementation of the decision may take up to six years as dams as high as 100 metres will have to be built to stop flow of water.
Under the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960, the waters of the western rivers -- the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab -- was given to Pakistan and those of the eastern rivers -- the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej -- to India.
India's share of water from Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers came to 33 million acres feet (MAF). While about 95 per cent of the water was being used in the country after the construction of three main dams across the rivers, close to 5 per cent water or 1.6 MAF would flow to Pakistan.
To gain access to this water, India is now building more dams which will be completed in six years, officials said.