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Not just India's share, Govt mulling to cut down Pakistan's share of river water as well

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New Delhi, Feb 22: India has made it clear that the water flowing into Pakistan from the three Eastern Rivers of the Indus system, which are essentially India's share as per the IWT, would be cut down drastically in years to come. That may irk Pakistan, but there is not much they can do about it as India has merely decided to utilise its share of water better, which in fact should have been done long back.

File photo of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari

But, what will definately leave the Pakistanis worried is Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari's latest remark that India may try and cut down the flow of Western Rivers as well which are Pakistan's share as per the Indus Water Treaty.

India to reduce water flowing into Pakistan, set to divert Eastern rivers to other parts

"Nirnay kewal mere dept ka nahi hai, sarkar aur PM ke level pe nirnay hoga par maine apne department se kaha hai ki Pakistan ka jo inke adhikar ka bhi paani ja raha tha vo kahan kahan rok sakte hain uska techinical design bana ke taiyaari karo (It is not just the the decision of my department, it will decided at the level of the Prime Minsiter and government. But i have told my department to prepare a technical design so that Pakistan's share of water can also be cut down)," news agency quoted Gadkari as saying.

This means that India may try and utilise a clause in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) which allows India to use water from the western rivers. It is largely believed that IWT clearly delineates that three Eastern Rivers belong to India and three Western Rivers belong to Pakistan. But, that is not the case.

The average annual flow of the Western Rivers is much higher than the Easter Rivers, and for this reason there is a provision in the treaty that India can use the water of Western Rivers for farming and irrigation only.

Gadkari also took to Twitter to elaborate on India's plan regarding the three rivers - the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej- that flow into Pakistan. These are eastern rivers and would not violating the treaty in any manner by diverting their flow.

It is what Gadkari said today is something that would leave the Pakistan worrying. But India needs to go about it in a carefully and planned manner so as not to violate the treaty and give Pakistan as opportunity to knock the doors of the United Nations.

The World Bank had last year said that India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) concluded.

Gadkari's 'water missile' not new for Pakistan

It is notable that Prime Minister Modi chaired a review meeting of Indus Water Treaty in July last year and it was decided that India will 'exploit to the maximum' the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water-sharing pact.

What is the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)?

The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank to use the water available in the Indus System of Rivers located in India. The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three "eastern" rivers of India - the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej with the mean flow of 33 million acre-feet (MAF) - was given to India, while control over the water flowing in three "western" rivers of India - the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum with the mean flow of 80 MAF - was given to Pakistan. The treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river in future.

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