Stopping water to Pakistan is priority: Jal Shakti Minister

New Delhi: India is working on a priority basis to check its share of water under the Indus Water Treaty from going to Pakistan, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Wednesday.

“A large part of India’s share of water under Indus Water Treaty goes to Pakistan. Many of these rivers are tributaries of Ravi, Beas and Satluj system and water from their catchment areas goes to the other side. We are working on priority that how our share of water that flows to Pakistan can be diverted for use by our farmers, industries and people,” he told ANI.

“We are working on hydrological and techno feasibility studies. I have given direction that it should be done promptly so that we can execute our plans,” he said.

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Shekhawat’s remarks come amid tensions between India and Pakistan following abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories. A rattled Islamabad has been desperately trying to internationalise the matter.

In May, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that India is mulling on the prospects of stopping the flow of river water to Pakistan in the backdrop of its “continuous support” to terrorism.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former Pakistan President Ayub Khan in 1960. As per the treaty, India has full rights over the waters of ‘eastern’ rivers — Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej. In return, India had to let ‘western’ rivers — Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum — flow ‘unrestricted’ to Pakistan.

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According to the treaty, India can use the waters of ‘western’ rivers as well, but only in a ‘non-consumptive’ manner. It could use the water for domestic purposes, and even for irrigation and hydropower production, but only in the manner specified in the agreement.

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