India on Monday rejected Pakistan’s claims that it had failed to inform Islamabad about the release of water from a dam that could cause flooding across the border, Reuters reported.
Islamabad accused New Delhi of waging “fifth-generation warfare” and alleged that the unexpected release of water into the River Sutlej that flows from India to Pakistan was an attempt by India to flout the longstanding Indus Water Treaty between the two countries.
India said that according to the treaty, advance information needs to be given in a situation when “extraordinary discharges of water from reservoirs and flood flows” could harm the other party.
“Until today, no such extraordinary discharges had been observed on the Indian side in the current flood season,” the Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement. “At 1900 IST, the flow of Sutlej river reached the threshold level of high flood and the same was conveyed to Pakistan.” However, Pakistan’s Director General of Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority Khurram Shahzed denied this, and claimed India did not communicate the release of water.
“They try to isolate diplomatically, they try to strangulate economically, they’re trying to strangulate our water resources – and water automatically will have an impact on your economy, your agriculture and your irrigation,” Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Muzammil Hussain told Reuters. “India was using its position upstream to wage fifth-generation warfare on the country,” Hussain added.
Hussain claimed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “threatened very clearly that he could stop water to Pakistan. He couldn’t care less [for] the treaties”.
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.
The relations between the two countries worsened after India decided to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. New Delhi’s actions were swiftly condemned by Islamabad, which downgraded diplomatic ties and ended bilateral trade. Since then, Pakistan has also endeavoured to raise the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, saying India’s decisions were a threat to regional and global peace.
Earlier in February, India had decided to stop its share of excess water that used to flow to Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 had said “blood and water cannot flow together” after suspending a meeting on the Indus Water Treaty.