India stops its share of river water flowing to Pakistan
11 March 2019
Amidst rising tension between India and Pakistan following the killing of 40 CRPF Jawans by Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, India has stopped its share of water from three eastern rivers from flowing to Pakistan.
Speaking to reporters in Rajasthan’s Bikaner on Sunday, union minister of state for water resources, Arjun Mehghwal, said that 0.53 million acre-feet of eastern rivers, which was flowing into Pakistan, have been stopped.
“0.53 million acre-feet water has been stopped from going to Pakistan and has been stored. Whenever Rajasthan or Punjab needs it, that water can be used for drinking and irrigation purposes,” the minister said.
India is entitled to use water from the three rivers - Sutlej, Ravi and Beas - under the Indus water treaty of 1960 and the present action does not amount to any breach of pact.
The tour of the Pakistani side was originally scheduled in October 2018 but was postponed because of local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the Pakistani team visited India in the last week of January to inspect projects in the Chenab basin in the state.
Pakistan, meanwhile, said it has ‘neither concern nor objection’ to India’s diversion of Indus water.
India also deferred a planned visit by a team to river projects being implemented by Pakistan.
During the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held in Lahore from August 29-30, 2018, both the commissioners had agreed to undertake the treaty-mandated tours of the Indus basin on both sides, reports citing government officials said.
The tour of the Pakistani side was originally scheduled in October 2018 but was postponed because of local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani team visited India in the last week of January to inspect projects in the Chenab basin in the state.
Pakistani Indus Commissioner Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah and Indian Commissioner PK Saxena along with respective advisers visited the under-construction Indian hydropower projects in Chenab basin namely Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW).
The delegation also visited the under-operation Baglihar hydro electric project (900 MW). The Pakistani commissioner extended an invitation to his counterpart to undertake a visit of the Indus basin on Pakistani side.
The Indian team was supposed to visit Pakistan this month, a senior official said. “But amid the ongoing tension it has now been postponed,” the official added. The official remained non-committal about the date, but said the visit has to take place by March 2020.