Earlier on Thursday, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had reiterated New Delhi’s decision amid strained ties between the two countries in the aftermath of a terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. Forty CRPF personnel were killed in the attack on February 14, which was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Pakistan’s Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Khawaja Shumail, said the Indus Water Treaty permits India to conduct such activities. “We have neither concern nor objection if India diverts water of eastern rivers and supplies it to its people or uses it for other purposes, as the Indus Water Treaty allows it do so.”
The Indus Waters Treaty, drawn up in September 1960 and brokered by the World Bank, lays down rules for how the water of the Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be used. According to the pact, India controls Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan controls Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
Shumail, however, said Pakistan will express its concerns if India decides to divert waters of the “western rivers [Chenab, Indus, Jhelum] on which our right to use prevails”.
According to the Pakistani minister, India is resuming an old project. “Actually India wants to construct Shahpurkandi dam at the Ravi basin,” Shumail said. “This project is abandoned since 1995. Now they [India] want to construct this in a bid to use its own share of water that goes unutilised and finally flows to Pakistan.”
Ties between the two countries have worsened after the Pulwama attack, with the United Nations also pushing for talks instead of heightening tensions. A day after the February 14 attack, India had revoked Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation tag, and said it would isolate Islamabad globally. Islamabad has refuted allegations that it was connected with the attack.