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PM talks tough on Indus Waters Treaty, says ‘blood and water cannot flow together’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a high-level meeting in the capital today where he will be briefed on the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty and look into the possibilities of revisiting the 56-year

India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: September 26, 2016 18:04 IST ]
PM Narendra Modi chairing the meeting on Indus Water Treaty
Image Source : PTI PM Narendra Modi chairing the meeting on Indus Water Treaty in New Delhi

Hinting at the possibility of a decisive action on the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan amidst heightened tension between the two countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that “blood and water cannot flow at the same time”, sources told India TV.

He made the remarks during a high-level meeting where he reviewed the treaty with Water Ministry officials making presentations.

The sources said that several possibilities were deliberated upon in the meeting. An Inter ministerial task force for Indian rights on western rivers under Indus Water Treaty is likely to be formed. 

India will use all of its legal rights provided in the treaty and will exploit to the maximum the capacity of three Pakistan-controlled rivers - Indus, Chenab, Jhelum.

The government will also review the construction of Tulbul navigation project at the mouth of Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, work on which was suspended in 2007. 

It was also decided in the meeting that India will also expedite construction on three dams on River Chenab- Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam, sources said.

Along with the Water Resources Secretary, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, and senior PMO officials were present at the meeting.

The review was undertaken as India weighs options to give a befitting response to Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack that left 18 soldiers dead.

The briefing was arranged to present to the PM "pros and cons" of the treaty which distributes waters of the Indus river system between India and Pakistan.

The meeting comes after two days of Prime Minister's fiery speech at Kozhikode where he made it clear that war isn’t on his agenda and his goal is an India “free from poverty, full of prosperity”, and that this objective is linked to “peace and good thoughts”.

India has made it clear that "mutual trust and cooperation" was important for such a treaty to work.The assertion came amid consistent 

Calls to scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of audacious Uri terror attack earlier this week.

It cannot be a one-sided affair," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said when asked if the government will rethink on the Treaty given the growing strain between the two countries. He also noted that the preamble of the Treaty itself said it was based on "goodwill".

However, officials of the ministries of water resources and external affairs said they were not aware of such a meeting being convened by the PM, according to a PTI report.

Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six river - Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum - were to be shared between the two countries. Pakistan has been complaining of not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in couple of cases.

Despite these differences, the Indus Waters Treaty is considered to be one of the most successful water-sharing agreements in the world today.

Even an article in Pakistani newspaper The Nation said that the advantages of the treaty outweigh the drawbacks. This is true despite the fact that even the rivers which come under Pakistani control do not originate in Pakistan and enter the country from India.

Indus originates in China, and Chenab and Jhelum originate in India. All the three rivers enter Pakistan from India. Moreover, more than half of the territory of Pakistan is part of the Indus basin which means that it is highly dependent on the three rivers coming from India for its water supply.

The argument against reviewing the treaty is that doing so makes India appear an aggressive power unmindful of international obligations.

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