Government of India’s project to divert its share of water flowing to Pakistan from three Indus rivers has gained momentum after Pulwama attack in Srinagar earlier this year.
India is working on ‘priority’ to divert its share of water flowing to Pakistan, for domestic use, said Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat following increased tensions between the two neighbours and government’s declaration to make water conservation, a national mission.
“…We’re working on priority to work out how our share of water that flows to Pakistan can be diverted, for use by our farmers, industries, & people,” Shekhawat tweeted.
The plan to divert water from India’s three eastern rivers Beas, Ravi and Sutlej gained momentum earlier this year after a terror strike on CRPF convoy in Pulwama killed 40 troopers. The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Earlier, after the Uri attack in September 2016, the government had pushed for effective use of India’s water share including fast-tracking irrigation and hydro-power projects by resolving long pending inter-state disputes.
A decision to fast-track three projects—stuck in red tape and disputes–including construction of two dams had been taken then, according to a government official who had spoken to news agency PTI.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty, waters flowing in three of Indus tributaries — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — have been allotted to India; while the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus waters have been allotted to Pakistan.
Of the total 168 million acre-feet, India’s share of water from the three allotted rivers is 33 million acre-feet, which constitutes nearly 20 per cent.
The Indus Waters Treaty signed by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan gave Pakistan the right to use water in “Eastern” rivers, namely, the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari had tweeted on February 21 to say that the projects to divert water flowing to Pakistan had been declared national projects by Narendra Modi government.
“Under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Sri @narendramodi ji, our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab,” Gadkari’s tweet had said.
The latest statement from Jal Shakti minister follows Pakistan’s bid to internationalise India’s move to remove special status for Jammu and Kashmir through revocation of Article 370 of the constitution. Pakistan suspended trade and travel between the two countries in retaliation besides unsuccessfully attempting to raise the issue in United Nations Security Council.
India responded to Pakistani actions by asking Islamabad to accept “the reality” and stated that any future bilateral talk on Kashmir will only be restricted to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that India’s nuclear doctrine of No-First-Use could change if situation demands was also seen as a message to Pakistan.