Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a meeting to discuss the aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty, which details how India and Pakistan share the water of six rivers. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Misra attended meeting, ANI reported. However, no statement has been issued yet on what their decision might be.
The meeting comes after Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup had hinted on Friday that the decades-old water sharing pact with Pakistan may be scrapped. Observers have said India should use the treaty as a way to penalise Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for influencing the attack that killed 18 Indian soldiers at an Army facility in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri on September 18.
Meanwhile, a Delhi-based lawyer on Monday filed a public interest litigation, challenging the constitutional validity of the treaty.
The ministry’s statement comes amid worsening ties between the two countries, the deepening dispute over Kashmir and Pakistan’s repeated attacks on India at the United Nations. Pakistan has reportedly been complaining of not receiving enough water and has even called for international intervention. Cutting off water supply from the Indus will cause a major crisis in Pakistan, as most of its regions are dependent on the river’s water.
According to the Indus Waters treaty signed in September 1960, India has control over the three eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – whereas Pakistan has control of the three western rivers – Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The agreement, brokered by the World Bank, was signed by former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Pakistani president at the time, Ayub Khan. The treaty has survived several bilateral disputes, including two battles.