Tension has been mounting between the nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan over the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
The water distribution treaty that has survived two wars between India and Pakistan is at risk of falling apart, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi choosing to use water as its weapon of payback for recent cross boarder violence.
At a recent rally in Punjab, PM Modi had said:
“Under the Indus Water Treaty, India has the right over water of Satluj, Beas and Ravi rivers. It rightfully belongs to our farmers, but this water is not reaching the farmer’s field, instead the water is flowing to Pakistan and eventually going to the sea. Governments came and went in Delhi, but farmers kept suffering as water continued to flow to Pakistan. Not any-more, I will ensure that farmers get what is rightfully theirs.”
The prime minister had earlier called for a review of the pact, saying “blood and water cannot flow together.”
On this, Sirajul Haq of the Islamist political party Jamaat-i-Islami responded:
“Prime minister of India Narendra Modi sent a message to Pakistan that he would block our rivers. Today, standing here in Karachi, near the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah I want to inform Modi that the line does not exist on his palm that says that he can do any such thing. Mr Modi, if you stop our water, we will stop your breathing.”
Pakistan has also reminded India of its obligations under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and cautioned that New Delhi’s own credibility will be at stake if the accord was violated.
“India has to abide by its international obligations, if it wants to be taken seriously by the international community,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.
The 1960 Indus Waters treaty brokered by the World Bank, on the sharing of the waters of six rivers between the two countries, became a flash point after the Uri attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed by terrorists from Pakistan.