No “achhe din” for Pakistan, government starts process to ‘review’ the Indus Water Treaty

After the Uri attacks, where nineteen brave soldiers martyred their lives in a deadly terrorist attack, the Prime Minister had made a bold statement saying, “Blood and water cannot flow togther”. Very promptly, PM Modi decided to set up an inter-ministerial task force to review the age old Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. The inter-ministerial task force, set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan, held its first meeting and discussed ways to fast-track various hydroelectric power projects of 8500 MW-capacity in Jammu and Kashmir.

The first inter-ministerial task force was chaired by Nripendra Mishra, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary. The meet was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar. The chief secretaries of the states of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir were also present in the meeting as all the hydroelectric plants and dams are either in the two states.

India has identified setting up hydroelectricity projects of a total of 18,000 MW capacity. Of these, 3000 MW have already been established. The Centre now intends at further development of 1800 MW capacity projects including Ratle (850 MW) in the first phase. In the second phase, 5500 MW capacity projects are expected to be developed. These projects are on both the Eastern (Beas, Ravi and Sutlej) and Western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum). India is all set to develop capacities in accordance with our rights under the water distribution pact.

The government of India has also decided to utilize maximum amount of water flowing through these rivers and plans to divert the water of these rivers to the canals in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir so that the Indian farmers benefit from it. During a rally in Punjab last month, Prime Minister Modi had said that Indian farmers have the first and foremost rights on the water of these rivers which flow through Punjab. As per sources, the first inter-ministerial task-force has also decided to devise ways to exploit maximum water flowing through these rivers to benefit the Indian farmers.

Kshitij Mohan