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India strikes back: Modi government to stop country's share of water to Pakistan

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 21 February 2019, 10:30 PM
Nitin Gadkari said that the construction of dam has started at Shahpur-Kandi on Ravi river. (Representational Image)
Nitin Gadkari said that the construction of dam has started at Shahpur-Kandi on Ravi river. (Representational Image)
HIGHLIGHTS
    • The construction of dam has started at Shahpur-Kandi on Ravi river.
    • Water from 3 rivers entering Pakistan would be directed towards Kashmir.
    • The moves comes on the backdrop of Pulwama terror attack.

Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that Modi government has decided to stop India's share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. “Under the leadership of Hon'ble PM Sri Narendra Modi ji, Our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from Eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab,” tweeted Gadkari.

Gadkari said that the construction of dam has started at Shahpur-Kandi on Ravi river. "Moreover, UJH project will store our share of water for use in J&K and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states. All the above Projects are declared as the National projects," he tweeted. He said that the water will now be diverted to Kashmir. 

Meanwhile, MoS Jitendra Singh said to a private news channel that India won’t allow a single drop of water to Pakistan.

According to Indus Waters Treaty, India has a control over the water flowing through the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while control over the water flowing the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan. According to the treaty, India can construct storage facilities on these rivers to store up to 3.6 million acre feet (MAF), which it has not done so far. Now, the government is planning to stop the flow of this water to Pakistan. 

The development comes days after India revoked the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to Pakistan in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack, which claimed lives of 40 CRPF jawans. 

Withdrawal of the MFN status would significantly hit Pakistan's exports to India, which stood at USD 488.5 million (around Rs 3,482.3 crore) in 2017-18.

"As the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has decided to withdraw the most-favoured nation status to Pakistan, the government can take punitive actions under the Customs Act and the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act," sources said. Under these laws, the government can restrict trade of certain goods, significantly increase customs duties and impose port-related restrictions on Pakistani goods, they said. The main items which Pakistan exports to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, bulk minerals and ores and finished leather.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996, but the neighbouring country had not reciprocated. The MFN status was accorded under World Trade Organisation's (WTO) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Both India and Pakistan are signatories to this, and are members of the WTO.

Under the MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies. Withdrawal of the status would mean that India could impose heavy customs duties and discriminate Pakistani goods vis-a-vis similar items of other trading partners. 

In 2012, Pakistan had committed to giving the MFN status to India but retracted later due to domestic opposition. Instead of MFN, Pakistan said it was working on granting Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India but that also was not announced. 

Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to USD 2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against USD 2.27 billion in 2016-17. India imported goods worth USD 488.5 million in 2017-18 and exported goods worth USD 1.92 billion in that fiscal.

First Published: Thursday, February 21, 2019 06:37 PM
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