Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said India’s position on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is strong as the waters are allowed to flow into Pakistan as per the agreement and termed allegations of violations by the neighbouring country as baseless.
“The Indus Waters Treaty has a long history," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function in the Kathua district. “In 1960, the treaty was formed when Ayub Khan was the President of Pakistan. Three rivers each were given to Pakistan and India. Pakistan was given Jhelum, Chenab and Sindhu (Indus) and India was given the control of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej," he explained.
He said the Shahpur Kandi dam project on Ravi river had been put off for the past 40 years by the previous governments. “Due to this, our share of water was unfortunately also flowing across the border," he said, adding the project’s phase one is underway.
Similarly, the Ratle project in Kishtwar was in limbo for the past eight years by the previous governments due to “excuses," Singh said. “After efforts, the project was revived only last year under a joint venture between the Centre and the UT administration. The Kishanganga project is also underway on the other side in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Referring to Pakistan’s claim of the treaty being violated, Singh said India’s position is strong because the IWT mentions non-consumptive use. “Despite the construction of dams and other projects, the waters are allowed to flow into Pakistan as per the agreement," he asserted.
Singh further said Pakistan is creating disturbance without any reason and stated “the concerned ministry has already taken up the issue with Pakistan."
Singh’s statement was in reference to India issuing a notice to Pakistan on Friday seeking a review and modification of the Indus Treaty in view of Islamabad’s “intransigence" on its implementation.
India has said that despite repeated attempts to find a mutually agreeable way forward through bilateral talks, Pakistan refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022.
Following the deadlock, the World Bank also announced appointing a neutral expert and a chair of the Court of Arbitration under two separate processes to resolve the differences over the Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects.
However, India has stated that such a parallel consideration of the same issues is not covered under any provision of IWT.
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