Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a high level meeting mulling options available with the government with regard to Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. The prime minister discussed the issue with national security advisor Ajit Doval, foreign secretary S Jaishankar and water resource secretary Shashi Shekhar at a meeting in New Delhi.
After speaking to officials involved in managing the Indus Water Treaty, India Today has put together the range of options that the Modi government has in this regard. Officials ruled out abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty or reneging on India's international commitments.
Instead India can make Pakistan feel the pinch by merely utilising the full extent of river water that it is entitled to use under the Indus Water Treaty.
INDUS TREATY OPTIONS
India is not fully utilising its entitlement under the 1960-treaty. Without reneging on commitments, the government can commission new projects to utilise India's full entitlement.
India currently underutilises water of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers. Run of river dams can be built on the three rivers without blocking the flow.
These small dams can help fulfill electricity and irrigation requirements of Jammu and Kashmir. Lack of irrigation water and electricity are among major grouses of people in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indus Water Treaty allows India to develop 1.34 million acres of irrigation in Jammu and Kashmir. So far, only 6,42,477 acres of land has been irrigated in the state.
India is allowed to store 3.60 million-acre-feet (maf) of western rivers, i.e. Jhelum, Indus, Chenab. So far, there is practically no storage capacity developed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Under the Indus treaty, India is entitled to use almost entire water of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi- collectively called eastern rivers. India can better utilize available water.
Completion of Indira Gandhi Canal in Rajasthan is yet another option for the government. The IG canal has not been completed on account of dispute between Haryana and Punjab over Sutlej-Yamuna link. As a result India is to release three million-acre-feet of Sutlej and Ravi water to Pakistan.
PM Modi can urge Haryana and Punjab to resolve water dispute, so that Sutlej water doesn't unnecessarily flow into Pakistan.
Indus treaty is hailed as the agricultural lifeline of Pakistan. Main cropping areas of Pakistan falls in the basins of Indus system rivers.