India threatens to cut water flow to Pakistan, Pakistan gears for war
February 22, 2019 09:00 AM NPT
Photo Courtesy: Agencies
NEW DELHI, Feb 22: An Indian government minister has reiterated the country’s plan to restrict the flow of water to Pakistan from its share of rivers, the latest effort by New Delhi to pressure its neighbor after a militant attack in Kashmir.
“Our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan,” Nitin Gadkari, transport and water resources minister, said in a tweet on Thursday. He added that the country would divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to its people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab states.
Gadkari did not elaborate but officials from his ministry said he was re-stating decisions already taken by prime minister Narendra Modi, including a dam project cleared by his cabinet last December. Officials said no new decision had been taken on Thursday.
The comments underlined New Delhi’s anger over an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group last week in the disputed region of Kashmir, which killed 40 paramilitary police. India has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to control such groups, while Pakistan has denied involvement.
The sharing of water supplies from the Indus river and its tributaries between the two countries is regulated under a 1960 treaty. In recent years India has begun ambitious irrigation plans and construction of many upstream dams, saying its use of upstream water is strictly in line with the treaty.
Pakistan has opposed some of these projects saying they violate the World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus waters, upon which 80% of its irrigated agriculture depends.
On Thursday, Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan authorized the country’s armed forces to hit back against India if attacked but repeated a call for an investigation into the attack in Kashmir.
India’s top military commander in Kashmir, Lieutenant-General KJS Dhillon, accused Pakistan’s ISI spy agency on Tuesday of controlling those behind the bombing and warned of retribution.
India has long blamed Pakistan for a nearly 30-year revolt in Jammu and Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority state. Pakistan denies any involvement and has repeatedly urged New Delhi to hold talks to decide the future of the region.
Pakistan Begins War Preparations, Approves Military Response If India Attacks
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated further with the Pakistan government headed by Imran Khan authorizing its military to “respond decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure” by neighboring India. Both are nuclear-armed rivals.
In the statement, Pakistan claimed that it was “not involved in any way, means or form” in the Pulwama attack, which it called “conceived, planned and executed indigenously.”
In the Pulwama attack, 41 Indian soldiers were killed. India responded with halting trade with Pakistan and stopped a bus service that was connecting the Indian side of Kashmir with the Pakistani-controlled part in Kashmir.
One of the documents, a letter by Headquarters Quetta Logistics Area of the Pakistan army in Quetta cantonment to Gilani hospital on Feb 20 urged medical support for treating injured soldiers for a possible war against India.
The letter also demands all private hospitals to earmark 25 percent of their beds for military use.
The report also cited a letter by the government of Pakistan occupied Kashmir that urged the local administration to issue advisories to residents in Neelum, Jehlum, Rawalkot, and Haveli located along the line of control (LoC) over a possible attack by the Indian forces. The letter also cautions residents to take safer routes while traveling and avoid congregation.
India alleges that Pakistan is funding, arming and controlling anti-national groups in Kashmir and sponsoring terror activities in the Indian state. After partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan are claiming Kashmir as theirs.
In the Himalayan region of Kashmir, one part is ruled by Pakistan, which India calls as Pak occupied Kashmir (Pok) and alleges that is the hub of Pak-backed Kashmir rebels.
Pakistan, on the other hand, blames India for its policies for the violence in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, India stated that it is pressing the global watch body, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to retain Pakistan in the terrorism financing watch list.
The FATF is holding a meeting in Paris where Pakistan was hoping to get off the greylist. A report quoting Indian officials said they have provided new information on Pakistan’s involvement to the FATF in the wake of the recent Pulwama terror attack on Indian forces.