Modi chairs meeting on Indus Waters treaty
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty, attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, that is viewed as a significant move amid the heightened tensions with Pakistan.
Sources said that Shashi Shekhar, Secretary, Water Resources Ministry, and Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, were also present at the meeting along with other senior officials from the PMO.
The meeting comes in the wake of the terror attack in Uri in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed, that India has blamed on militants from Pakistan, and has led to escalation of tensions with the neighbour.
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. The water distribution treaty brokered by the World Bank was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 after Islamabad’s fear that since the source rivers of the Indus basin are in India, it could potentially create drought and famine in Pakistan during times of war.
According to the agreement, India has control over three eastern rivers — Beas, Ravi and Sutlej — all flowing from Punjab. Pakistan, as per the treaty, controls the western rivers — the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flow from Jammu and Kashmir.
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.
India has been making diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan on the issue of “exporting terror” in the wake of the September 18 Uri attack. 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.