Indus Water Treaty: Blood and water cannot flow together, says PM Narendra Modi

PM on Monday chaired a meeting on the Indus Water Treaty, attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

Updated: Sep 27, 2016, 00:52 AM IST
Indus Water Treaty: Blood and water cannot flow together, says PM Narendra Modi
File photo

Delhi: Taking a tough stand on the Indus water, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that blood and water cannot flow together, as he chaired a review meeting of 56-year-old treaty.

Held amidst heightened tension between the India and Pakistan, the meeting also decided to set up a inter-ministerial task forces to go into the details and working of the treaty with a "sense of urgency", senior government sources said.

At the same time, it has emerged that India will exploit to the maximum the capacity of Pakistan-controlled rivers - Indus, Chenab, Jhelum as per the treaty, as per PTI.

The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

Sources said that Shashi Shekhar, Secretary, Water Resources Ministry, and Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to PM, were also present at the meeting along with other senior officials from the PMO, as per IANS.

At the same time, India to expedite construction on three dams on River Chenab - Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam, as per ANI.

Apart from deciding to exploit to the maximum the capacity of three of the rivers that are under Pakistan's control - Indus, Chenab and Jhelum - in the areas of hydro power, irrigation and storage, the meeting also agreed to review the "unilateral suspension" of 1987 Tulbul navigation project. The project was suspended in 2007.

The sources asserted that the decision to maximise the water resources for irrigation will address the "pre-existing" sentiment of people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have complained in the past about the treaty not being fair to them.

The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on that country.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said last week that there were differences between India and Pakistan on implementing the Indus Waters Treaty.

He had also said that any cooperative arrangement requires goodwill and mutual trust on both sides. 

Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six rivers - Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum - were to be shared between the two countries.

Pakistan has been complaining about not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in a couple of cases.

Jammu and Kashmir has been demanding a review of the treaty as it robs the state of its rights to use the water of the rivers.

The meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty is being seen as an indication that the government could be looking at more options to exert pressure on Pakistan. 

Meanwhile, Water Ministry sources said, "You will get to know soon whatever the government decides." 

(With Agency inputs)