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India to stop flow of water to Pakistan from rivers under the Indus Water Treaty

India decided on Thursday to stop the flow of its share of water to Pakistan from rivers under the Indus Water Treaty, a move seen as an immediate fallout of the deadly terrorist attack in Pulwama, Kashmir, that killed 49 paramilitary personnel.

Water resources minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted to convey the government’s decision to stop India’s share of the water going to Pakistan. But the actual implementation of the decision may take up to six years as dams as high as 100 metres will have to be built to stop such flow, officials said, insisting the decision was in no way a violation of the treaty.

Under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, the waters of the western rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — were given to Pakistan and those of the eastern rivers — Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — to India. India’s share of the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej river waters came to 33 million acres feet (MAF). While about 95 per cent of water is being used in the country after the construction of three main dams across the rivers, close to five per cent water or 1.6 MAF would flow to Pakistan. To gain access to this water, India is now building more dams which will be completed in six years, officials said. Another official said the decision was taken two months back.

Water to Pakistan from the three rivers has been flowing for 60 years, while the country needs it to meet the needs of its citizens, they said, insisting the stopping of its share of water from going to Pakistan is in no way a violation of the treaty. “Under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Sri @narendramodiji, Our Govt has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert the water from eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab,” Mr Gadkari said in a tweet. He added: “The construction of a dam has started at Shahpur-Kandi on Ravi river. Moreover, UJH project will store our share of water for use in J&K and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states.”

Mr Gadkari’s tweets come barely a week after the gruesome Pulwama attack on February 14 in which as many as 49 CRPF personnel were killed as a terrorist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a bus carrying them.

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