Indus Waters Treaty to stay: At review meet, Modi says blood and water can't flow together

Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after 18 soldiers were killed following a terror attack in north Kashmir's Uri Sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi to review the Indus Waters Treaty and decided not to cancel the Treaty. However, in a bid to rattle Islamabad, the officials said that India is planning to increase the use of water that flows from India but is controlled by Pakistan.

While meeting with water ministry officials, Modi said, "Blood and water don't flow together."

Quoting a source, NDTV said, "The decision is to store water and maximize irrigation area. With this we would be able to irrigate land in Jammu and Kashmir for nearly six lakh hectares," and added that the decision also addresses the sentiment of people of the state, who believe the treaty isn't fair to them. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, the water resources secretary, Principal Secretary to the PM Nripendra Misra and senior PMO officials were present at the meeting.

 Indus Waters Treaty to stay: At review meet, Modi says blood and water cant flow together

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.PTI

Government sources quoted by ANI said that India would use its fullest legal rights in the Treaty. Construction of Tulbul navigation project, which was suspended since 2007, would be reviewed and India would use potential of 18,000 megawatt of power from the western rivers under the Treaty. An inter-ministerial taskforce for India's rights would also be formed. ANI reported:

ANI quoted water ministry officials and reported:

Since the terror attacks in Uri, there have been consistent calls from different sections and political parties in India that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on Pakistan in the aftermath of the terror attack. Under the treaty, which was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart 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.

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.

According to sources, officials from the Union Water Resources Ministry gave a presentation to the prime minister on the treaty and the projects involved.

"The Ministry Secretary (Shashi Shekhar) made a presentation on the facts and current positions with regard to the treaty before the Prime Minister," the sources told PTI.

"Any decision regarding the treaty will be taken at the higher level which will be conveyed by the Foreign Office. The Ministry's role was limited to putting forth facts regarding the treaty," the sources said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 26, 2016 18:09:44 IST