As the government reviews the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, experts today felt that India has so far not utilised the agreement to its fullest to increase irrigation and hydropower potential in Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who had recently suggested that India should consider abrogating the treaty with Pakistan as response to the Uri attack, said if Islamabad is not prepared to honour any of its commitments, it should not be incumbent on New Delhi to honour them.
“Utilise the treaty to its fullest. We are allowed to build hydropower potential and use the water for irrigation. Under the agreement, we are allowed to do a lot more than what we have done,” former Union Water Resources Secretary Dhruv Vijai Singh told PTI.
He said the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had passed two resolutions seeking more Indus water for the state. “We can legally do lot more in terms of irrigation…The terms of the treaty which are in India’s favour need to be exploited more,” he said.
He noted that in the past whenever India has tried to utilise the treaty provisions to help its people, Pakistan has accused New Delhi of violating the agreement.
Responding to a question on whether China can stop the flow of Brahmaputra and Indus rivers into India if New Delhi turns the tap off, he said India receives less than five per cent of Indus water from China and around 10 per cent of Brahmaputra water from it.
“It is nothing,” he said.
A former Indus commissioner said the government’s decision to utilise the treaty to India’s benefit is the step in the right direction.
“We have been following the treaty by the book. While contesting cases of international arbitration against Pakistan, we have proved to the international community how serious India is in following the treaty. Pakistan has already been exposed in such cases,” he said.
Writing for ndtv.com, Yashwant Sinha said, “Terrorists keep attacking us, we keep discussing options. This is the unending story. I am in favour of action and all that I am saying is that this time India should act and not just go on discussing how to handle these attacks.”
He said the basic point is that if Pakistan is not prepared to honour any of its commitments, why should it be incumbent on India to honour all of them?
“Because we are the good boys in the eyes of the international community and want to stay that way? (Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif and (Army chief) Raheel Sharif may be sharif only in name; we in India are the real sharifs,” he wrote.