India suspends talks on Indus water pact

Declaring that “blood and water cannot flow together”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting of senior officials from the Water Resources and External Affairs Ministries and the PMO to discuss the government’s options on the India-Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty in the wake of the Uri attack.

While the meeting decided to suspend further water talks and increase the utilisation of rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir to maximise India’s share, there was no decision on either reviewing or abrogating the 1960 treaty, official sources said.

The government decided to suspend talks on the Permanent Indus Commission, the dispute redressal mechanism that has met 112 times, until “terror comes to an end”. According to Article VIII of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Commission must meet once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan. The last meeting was held in July 2016.

According to the sources, the Prime Minister held the meeting as “things have been difficult with Pakistan,” adding that, hence, “this was the appropriate time to review arrangements under the Indus Waters Treaty again.”

(With inputs from Jacob Koshy)

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