India to cut flow of river water to Pakistan as tensions rise over Kashmir attack
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India to cut flow of river water to Pakistan as tensions rise over Kashmir attack

India’s transport and water resources minister said in a tweet on Thursday that the government “has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan.” Nitin Gadkari said that New Delhi would instead divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to its people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab states. According to the ministry officials, the decision had already made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last December. But it was announced amid escalating tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad following the car bomb attack — claimed by the Pakistan-based militant group the so-called Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) — that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitary troops on the outskirts of the Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar. Indian Commander General K.J.S. Dhillon in Kashmir said on Tuesday that the attack “was being controlled from across [the frontier] by ISI and Pakistan and JeM commanders,” using a shorthand for the Inter-Services Intelligence, which is Pakistan’s main spy agency. “The JeM is a child of the Pakistan army and the ISI. The attack was masterminded by Pakistan, ISI, and JeM,” he said. Responding to the deadly attack, Modi also said that those behind the bombing “have to pay a heavy price.” Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, has denied Islamabad’s involvement in the attack, saying New Delhi has “blamed the Pakistan government without any evidence... If you have any evidence, we will act.” He also warned that in the event of an attack by India, Islamabad would not waste time thinking about retaliation. “We will retaliate,” he said. Under a 1960 treaty governing the use of the Indus River and its tributaries, Islamabad controls most of the water. This latest threat could cause a catastrophe for hundreds of millions of people, whose lives depend of river water, in both sides of the border. The two neighbors have long been locked in a dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, a region located between India and Pakistan. The rivals have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir. Pakistan is widely accused of arming and training militants.

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