India to suspend Indus water commission talks with Pakistan

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/9/27 8:28:52

India has decided to suspend Indus water commission talks with Pakistan, local newspaper The Hindu said on Monday.

"The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to review the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) with Pakistan amidst heightened tension between the two countries," the newspaper said.

The report quoted Modi as saying "blood and water cannot flow together."

According to India's official broadcaster All India Radio (AIR), the government will soon set up an inter ministerial task force to exploit the full potential of the rivers Indus, Chenab, Jhelum as per the IWT.

Post-partition of the subcontinent water sharing was a major problem between India and Pakistan. The issue was resolved with the arbitration of World Bank, then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a settlement in the name of IWT was reached out in 1960.

The agreement puts riders on how the two countries use and share water resources.

Out of the six rivers in what is called the Indus basin, India has exclusive rights over waters of the three major Eastern rivers - Ravi, Beas and Sutlej before they enter Pakistan, while Pakistan has rights to three large Western rivers that first flow through Indian-controlled Kashmir - Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.

The treaty has withstood two wars and numerous other conflicts.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated recently because of the ongoing civilian protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir and a deadly attack last week on an Indian army base in frontier Uri town. The attack killed 18 troopers and wounded over 20 others.

New Delhi blames Islamabad for fanning Kashmir protests and accuses it of sending armed militants into Indian-controlled Kashmir. However, Islamabad says it only provides moral and political support to Kashmiris.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

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