New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic has cast a shadow on a tradition India and Pakistan have religiously followed, even through the phases of deepest tensions, over the past 60 years. Saxena wrote to his Pakistani counterpart Sayed Mohammed Meher Ali Shah to request the meeting be postponed to mid-April because of the disruption caused by Covid-19 but the latter has yet to reply. This year’s meeting was scheduled for the last week of March in India after Saxena suggested as much in a letter to Shah this February. It was around the same time that India started imposing travel and other restrictions, forcing Saxena to again write to Shah with a suggestion that the meeting be deferred. Sources in the Pakistani administration told ThePrint that Islamabad will participate in the meeting but a date is not known yet as the country is itself grappling with the pandemic. While the western rivers of the system — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — fall in Pakistan’s share, the three eastern ones — Ravi, Beas and Sutlej — are to be used by India. Although the meetings have continued, the IWT has been under strain since 18 September 2016, when an attack by Pakistani terrorists killed 19 soldiers at the Uri Army camp. “Blood and water cannot flow together,” Modi said at a meeting held to review the treaty soon after the attack, where he directed officials to fast-track infrastructure projects on the Indus river basin, some of which have been opposed by Pakistan . Modi had said at the time that India was going to exercise its right to make full use of its share of water for meeting its power and agricultural requirements. The meeting of the commission was also briefly suspended after the Uri attack, but it was eventually held before the financial year ended.
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