Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan. He was referring to the contentious Indus Water Treaty between the two countries. The prime minister was in Bathinda to inaugurate a new campus of All India Institute of Medical Science.
“The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan…Government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers,” Modi said addressing a crowd in the state that will go for Assembly elections in 2017. He said his government has formed a task force to make sure that farmers in Punjab and the rest of the country “get each drop of water due to them”.
Relations between India and Pakistan have worsened since a militant attack on an Army installation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector on September 18. Surgical strikes by the Army following the attack and the growing number of ceasefire violations have led to a further deterioration in relations between the two countries.
On September 28, Pakistan sought the International Court of Justice and World Bank’s intervention in its tussle with India over the Indus Waters Treaty after India decided to review the pact. Delhi’s decision to reconsider the treaty came right after the Uri attack, which it suspects was sponsored by Islamabad. Modi had then said, “blood and water cannot flow together”. Before that, on August 19, Pakistan had requested the Court of Arbitration’s intervention in the resolution of disputes related to India’s Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plant projects on rivers Neelum and Chenab respectively.
In 1960, the World Bank had coordinated the treaty that divides the flow of six rivers between the rival countries. According to the treaty, India controls Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, and Pakistan holds reign over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. It was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani president at the time, Ayub Khan. The treaty has survived several bilateral disputes, including two battles.