India signals rethink on Indus river water treaty with Pakistan

India signals that it could revisit 1960 Indus water treaty with Pakistan against the backdrop of Islamabad ignoring New Delhi’s concerns over continued support to terrorism

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Photo: Reuters
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: India on Thursday signalled that it could revisit a 1960 treaty on sharing of the waters of the river Indus, a lifeline for Pakistan’s economy, against the backdrop of Islamabad ignoring Indian concerns over its continued support to terrorism.

“Eventually, any cooperative arrangement requires goodwill and mutual trust on both sides,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters in New Delhi when asked if India could do a rethink on the implementation of the pact.

The treaty, negotiated more than five decades ago by the World Bank, remained in effect even during the wars between India and Pakistan—in 1965, 1971 and 1999.

The treaty stipulates that water from the rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab will be used exclusively by Pakistan, while water from the rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas will be used by India.

India’s comments on the treaty came a day after Pakistan suffered a blow in its efforts to involve the UN in its row with India over Kashmir.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Pakistan to sort out its disputes with India through dialogue. The response came as Sharif handed over a dossier reportedly documenting evidence of alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces in Kashmir.

A brief readout of Ban’s meeting with Sharif, posted on the UN website, said, “the Secretary-General stressed the need for Pakistan and India to address outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through dialogue, saying it is in the interest of both countries and the region as a whole”.

Ban’s comments were interpreted in New Delhi as a snub to Pakistan over its efforts to internationalize the dispute. Pakistan had sought UN intervention in its row with India and also sent envoys around the world to garner support for its position on Kashmir.

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In his address to the UN General Assembly late on Wednesday, Sharif demanded an independent inquiry into what he described as “extra judicial killings” in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India, on its part, slammed Pakistan, describing it as “host to the Ivy League of terrorism”, which attracts “aspirants and apprentices from all over the world”.

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