Days after India informed Pakistan of its intent to renegotiate the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday that this is a “technical matter” that will be discussed by officials of the two sides before the next steps are decided.
The Indian side sent a “notification for modification” of the treaty on January 25 through the Indus Waters Commissioners of the two sides. People familiar with the matter said India was forced to take the step because Pakistan’s “intransigence” in handling disputes had raised questions about the integrity of the agreement.
“In the case of the Indus Waters Treaty, you know that under the treaty, the two countries have their Indus commissioners. This is, in a way, a technical matter and the Indus commissioners will discuss this issue. After that, we have to see what will be the next steps,” Jaishankar said during a question-and-answer session at an event held in Pune for the release of the Marathi version of his book The India Way.
India has asked Pakistan to respond within 90 days to its notice regarding the intent to amend the Indus Waters Treaty.
Responding to a question on whether a “rogue nation” such as Pakistan was a liability for India, Jaishankar said: “It is a reality to us. In life, you have what you have…Like the Pandavas could not choose their relatives, we also cannot choose our neighbours.”
He added, “We would naturally hope that good sense prevails, that the practices of the past are not followed. That is our hope, and in diplomacy it is important to be hopeful.”
Jaishankar also declined to comment in public on recent developments in Pakistan, including political and economic turmoil.
Relations between the two neighbours are currently at an all-time low following a string of terror attacks blamed on Pakistan-based terrorist groups. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an atmosphere free of violence for any meaningful engagement.
While addressing the event, Jaishankar spoke about the fallout of the Ukraine crisis on India. “Everyone knows how much pressure there was on us on the Ukraine issue but the prime minister’s thinking was very clear from the first day – that we should do whatever is in India’s interest,” he said, speaking in Hindi. Such clear instructions had made his work as the foreign minister very easy.
Jaishankar also highlighted the importance of self-reliance and self-belief. “In other areas such as defence purchases, India has kept options open with everyone. We bought the Rafale jet from France, the S-400 air defence system from Russia and helicopters from the US. Only a country with belief in itself can play the international game with everyone at the highest level,” he said.
He said decisive steps were necessary in the realm of national security following terrorism foisted on India by a neighbour. “But there is a limit to everything, that limit was Uri and Pulwama. We needed to take decisive steps, the message of Balakot is an example of the India way,” he said.
India has also taken the lead as a first responder on issues such as climate change, Covid-19 vaccines and disaster response. “This is a different India, if we have tough things to do, we will do [them],” he said.
Source- Hindustan Times.