Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that India is no longer bound to follow the Indus Water Treaty as the peaceful relations and friendship with Pakistan have “completely vanished”.
He said India does not want to stop the flow of water from the three rivers into Pakistan but is now considering the move as Pakistan is not acting against terrorism.
“Pakistan is continuously supporting terrorists. If Pakistan doesn’t stop terrorism, we won’t have any other option but to stop river water to Pakistan,” Gadkari said.
He further said that India has started studying the matter internally and that the water will be diverted to Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.
In a major decision aimed at ‘choking’ Pakistan after the dastardly 14 February Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, India had in February announced that it will divert its share of unutilised water from the eastern rivers that flow into the neighbouring country.
Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari had then informed that the government has decided to stop India’s share of water which flows into Pakistan and divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to the people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
The Indus Water Treaty was signed on 19 September 1960 by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani President Ayub Khan.
In November 2018, India had decided to fast-track three projects on the ‘eastern’ rivers to arrest the unutilised water of its share under the bilateral treaty with Pakistan.
According to the treaty, Pakistan gets 80 per cent access to the water of the three of India’s ‘western’ rivers — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum – and India got the three ‘eastern’ rivers – the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej – which have a flow of 33 million acre-feet (MAF).
India can use the western rivers but for consumption purpose only. The treaty places restrictions on the building of storage systems and also states, with exceptions, that India cannot build irrigation systems on the western rivers.
Though the treaty was never abrogated in spite of the wars that India and Pakistan fought, it came under great scrutiny following the Uri terror attack. At the time, the clamour for the abrogation of the treaty was so intense in India that the United Nations pointed out that the treaty has withstood three wars.