The Indian government has reportedly decided not to scrap the Indus Waters Treaty, a 56-year-old shared pact with Pakistan that governs the use of water resources from six key rivers that flow through the region, NDTVreported.
According to media reports, the Indian government is planning to exploit to "the maximum" the capacity of Pakistan- controlled rivers -- Indus, Chenab, Jhelum" as per the terms of the treaty, PTI reported. India has also reportedly discussed expediting the construction on three dams on River Chenab; Pakul Dul Dam, Sawalkot Dam and Bursar Dam.
India can use 20 per cent of the Indus' water before it reaches Pakistan for irrigation, transport and power, an option that hasn't been exercised in nearly 30 years.
At a meeting in New Delhi on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly said, "Blood and water cannot flow together," addressing top officials while reviewing the treaty in the wake of the Uri militant attack.
Some observers had recently suggested that India should scrap the water sharing agreement as a retaliatory move against Pakistan following the militant attack in Uri last week that led to 18 army casualties. Many experts have noted stopping the course of the rivers would result in flooding in Jammu and Kashmir.
PM Modi chaired the meeting, which was also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, the Water Resources Secretary, and senior PMO officials, according to media reports, amidst heightened tension between the two countries following the Uri attack.
Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six river - Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum - were to be shared between the two countries. Pakistan has in the past complained of not receiving enough water and sought international arbitration.
Apart from deciding to exploit to the maximum the capacity of three of the rivers that are under Pakistan's control - Indus, Chenab and Jhelum-- in the areas of hydro power, irrigation and storage, the meeting also agreed to review the "unilateral suspension" of 1987 Tulbul navigation project. The project was suspended in 2007.
India had last week made it clear that "mutual trust and cooperation" was important for such a treaty to work.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused to grant an urgent hearing on a public interest litigation seeking declaration of the India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty as unconstitutional.
"There is no urgency in the matter. It will come up for hearing in due course," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar said.
With PTI inputs