“Blood and water cannot flow together,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted as saying on September 26 while heading a high-level review meeting of the Indus Waters Treaty which he headed to weigh India’s options in the wake of the Uri terror attack which left 18 army jawans martyred.
No decision, however has been taken by the PM at the review meeting. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Principal Secretary to the PM Nripendra Misra and Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar among others attended the meeting.
The bilateral treaty, which has been signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in 1960, speaks of sharing of six river waters such as Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between India and Pakistan. As much as 80 percent of the riser waters goes into Pakistan’s kitty. Lately, Pakistan has gone for global arbitration in some cases of the bilateral treaty complaining of not receiving enough water.
Another threat looming large in the Indian horizon is, if India decides to scrap the bilateral treaty, China, as Pakistan’s ally, in an act of retaliation could block Indus and Brahmaputra Rivers. If China were to divert Indus by coming out in support of Pakistan, the move could hurt India terribly. The country could lose as much as 36 percent of water. Also, with China constructing 11 dams over the rivers the position is very delicate.
While this was so, Jammu and Kashmir would support whatever decision was taken by the Centre, said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, while referring to the Indus treaty.
He said people of the state could not fully utilise Chenab waters for agriculture and other activities as the water is sent to Pakistan.
As per media reports, the treaty, which was negotiated by the World Bank, is seen as tilting heavily in Pakistan’s favour so much so that there was a need to have a relook at it.
Meanwhile, in a huge set back to Pakistan, China disagreed with media reports that it has extended full support to Pakistan. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yo Boren didn’t agree with the Pakistani media that China would support Pakistan in case of “foreign aggression”.