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Hope India, Pak will resolve water issue themselves: Ban Ki-moon

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United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed hope that India and Pakistan will bilaterally resolve issues over water-sharing, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan.

“We will take a look at the issue on water. Obviously, we hope it’s something that the two parties can resolve themselves,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the daily press briefing here yesterday when asked about Modi’s remarks on the Indus Water Treaty amid escalating tensions between the two nations.

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Addressing a rally in Punjab last week, Modi had said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan and he will ensure that Indian farmers in India utilise it.

“Now, every drop of this water will be stopped and I will give that to farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and Indian farmers. I am committed to this,” he had said. Last week, during a Security Council debate on water, peace and security, Ban had cited the Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan as well as other similar agreements “as instruments promoting stability and peace” and said “shared water resources often generated cooperation”.

During the debate, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had warned against use of water as instrument of coercion or war. She had said the 1960 Indus Water Treaty is an example of what can be achieved through bilateral agreements but also a case study of what could wrong if such agreements are not honoured or threatened with abrogation by a state party.

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Separately, Ban had also expressed deep concern last week over the deterioration of the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir in recent days, saying he “trusts” India and Pakistan can find “common ground” and work towards a sustainable peace.

The UN Chief had called on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life. When asked during the briefing about Indian-Pakistan tensions at the border, Dujarric referred to Ban’s remarks saying the increasing tensions over the Line of Control are of “great concern to the Secretary-General”.