NEW DELHI: Water resources minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Friday stepped up pressure on Pakistan, saying he had asked the ministry to explore options that could block even the neighbour’s share of waters from the Indus system as terrorism and business-as-usual could not go hand in hand.
Gadkari’s comments are a scale up of
his comments on Thursday
+ when he restricted himself to saying India will make use of its share of waters currently flowing into Pakistan. He said while the decision to curtail Pakistan’s share — which can amount to abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty — needs the top leadership’s consideration, his ministry was examining various options.
#WATCH Union Min Nitin Gadkari says,”Nirnay kewal mere dept ka nahi hai, sarkar aur PM ke level pe nirnay hoga par… https://t.co/ItCyjMKIIp
— ANI (@ANI) 1550811372000
“Nirnay kewal mere department 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, woh kahan, kahan rok sakte hain uska technical design bana ke taiyaar karo (Decision will not happen at the level of my department. It’ll be taken at the level of PM and government, but I told my department to prepare technical designs of projects on where we can stop even Pakistan’s share of water),” Gadkari told ANI.
He further said since Pakistan insisted on inflicting terrorism on India, it would be difficult to keep humanitarian considerations in mind. The principles of shared concerns and needs that animated the inking of the treaty after independence have not been reciprocated, the minister added.
Speaking at a workers’ meeting in Jabalpur, he said, “If Pakistan does not stop sending terrorists to India, we will not give a single drop of water to them.”
The ministry did not elaborate on Gadkari’s remarks. Experts believe India will have to abrogate the 1960 treaty if the government decides on such an option.
“If there is political will, India can go ahead with it unilaterally. There are provisions under Vienna Convention where a country can go for unilateral abrogation in such circumstances,” said Uttam Sinha, senior fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Sinha, however, said the option was not easy as India would need a cost-benefit analysis both in terms of its impact internationally as well as regionally (in terms of its relations with Nepal and Bangladesh).
There could be three options — renegotiation of IWT, suspension of the Indus Water Commission indefinitely and developing capacity to fully utilise its own share of water under the treaty.
Former water secretary Shashi Shekhar said the option of abrogation should be examined in a larger context. “The IWT survived three wars (1965, 1971 and 1999). India has always been very gracious. The question is whether the country should comply with its obligation under the treaty when Pakistan continues to fan terrorism,” he told TOI.
Shekhar said there were precedents when the US and China had abrogated treaties.