BY MIAN ABRAR


India throws down the gauntlet, is Pakistan ready?


India has also launched a campaign to diplomatically isolate Pakistan by tagging it to terrorism. Though the bitter fact is that successive Indian regimes have been involved in using state apparatus against their own civilians

It seems India has learnt nothing from its wars with Pakistan. While the poor of India deserve allocations in budget, the war-mongering prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, is harping on Pakistan almost every day – warning of shedding more and more blood.

It seems Chinese investments in the multi-billion-dollar project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have driven the Indian establishment crazy as threats are being hurled every next day from across the border.

The latest, according to Indian media, are claims that India would not attend the Pakistan-India meeting scheduled by World Bank next month in Washington to discuss water issues related to the implementation on the Indus Water Treaty.

India and Pakistan, the twin sisters of the subcontinent, share a history of strained relations since their birth in August 1947. Despite the fact that the peoples of both the nuclear neighbours share historical, traditional and religious roots, the establishments of both the states have always been at each other’s throat, (mis)using proxies and unleashing diplomatic, military and intelligence war against one another.

India has also launched a campaign to diplomatically isolate Pakistan by tagging it to terrorism. Though the bitter fact is that successive Indian regimes have been involved in using state apparatus against their own civilians, especially the Muslim minority, yet it has successfully leveraged the global war on terrorism against Muslim community launched by the US.

Of late, India has give a free rein to a water war aimed at drying out Pakistani rivers, all of which flow into Pakistan from mountainous peaks withheld by India. Pakistan and India started well by agreeing to a water sharing formula under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

The rot started from the beginning though as India smartly got included some additional annexures added to the original agreement. Later, India diverted all the river water of Sutlej and Jhelum rivers in violation of international laws which makes it mandatory to ensure running for enough waterbed so the river diversion does not have a negative impact on environment.

Since the signing of IWT in 1960, India has been taking advantage of its strategic position by diverting water and taking out new canals from Indus, Jhelum, Neelum and Chenab Rivers.

Since almost all the rivers flow into Pakistan from parts of Kashmir and adjoining mountains, Pakistan, being the low riparian, has been on the receiving end while India has exploited the situation to its credit.

While India diverted the waters of Neelum River, Pakistan lost 213 kilometer-long river from Tao But to AJK. This would badly affect the Neelum-Jhelum Project which would never be able to generate its optimum power generation levels.

On the international scenario, however, the IWT has been widely seen as a good example of ‘environmental diplomacy’ as experts believe the water-sharing deal was inked without shedding a single drop of blood. The pact has also survived three wars.

It was only recently that Pakistan recognised its ignorance to the Indian hydropower projects in Indian Occupied Kashmir at Baglihar and Kishenganga. Pakistan protested that both projects had been designed in violation of the Indus Water Treaty. Though a so-called ‘neutral expert’ approved the Indian position on Baglihar Dam in 2006, a court of arbitration on Kishenganga recently also favoured t he Indian position.

Hawks in India are so fanatic that after a recent militant attack on an Indian army camp at Uri in September 2016, which many Indians blamed on Pakistan, they called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cut off Pakistan’s water supply.

Pakistan, however, insisted the Uri attack was a ‘false flag’ operation conducted by Indian intelligence operatives to help the Indian military launch a bloody crackdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir to crush an uprising of Kashmiri freedom loving people who have been agitating since the
martyrdom of Kashmiri poster boy Burhan Wani by Indian army.

While experts blame India for constructing dams and diverting water from rivers flowing into Pakistan to help meet its growing energy demands, the people at large see it a strategic move to push Pakistan into famine under its ‘Strangulate Pakistan’ campaign.

Though Indian media has quoted officials in New Delhi claiming that India would skip the Washington moot, Pakistan has laughed off the assertion and believes it would be detrimental for New Delhi to skip the meeting

With the population of Pakistan and India growing, their appetite for energy would also swell. Both still have agriculture-based industry, so both need more energy. This could lead to further tensions between the two nuclear neighbours.

“Waters of [Kashmir’s] rivers are the lifeblood of West Pakistan,” a Pakistani diplomatic communiqué warned India in 1951. In private conversations with British and American diplomats, Pakistani leaders emphasised that any Kashmir settlement must give Pakistan control of both banks of the Chenab — something of a problem, since it runs through the heart of Hindu-majority Jammu.

While Indian hawks keep harping to annul the Indus Water Treaty, India can’t afford to do it for many reasons. India has recently been sent a shockwave by China, the strategic ally of Pakistan, which plans to divert Brahmaputra water for energy use. So it might be a subtle message that if India can plug rivers flowing into Pakistan, China can do the same to India.

The Indus Waters Treaty was a unique solution to the water sharing issue. The key features of the treaty are that the two countries divided the rivers according to location rather than the water volume.

India draws water from the three “eastern” rivers — the Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas. Pakistan uses the “western” rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. Under the treaty, India was able to maintain its claim that all of the water of the eastern rivers was Indian property, because the rivers ran through its territory.

Traditionally, Pakistan had historically used waters from the eastern rivers but following the treaty, it needed to construct massive new canals to bring water all the way down to farmland from the western rivers. For this very purpose, the US had provided compensation money to Pakistan.

Following India’s construction of successive dams on western rivers flowing into Pakistan in violation of the treaty, Pakistan has turned over to the World Bank to seek its mediation. This was in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that India is free to use the water which flows into the sea. This is incorrect because according to the treaty, India cannot use more than 20 percent of the Indus water.

The World Bank spent many years to persuade New Delhi to reach an agreement with Islamabad. Now the World Bank has sent an official invitation to New Delhi for a meeting to discuss the treaty in Washington in April.

Though Indian media has quoted officials in New Delhi claiming that India would skip the Washington moot, Pakistan has laughed off the assertion and believes it would be detrimental for New Delhi to skip the meeting.

India must understand that IWT is a permanent agreement under which many dams were constructed and a huge link canal system was erected as well. India must not take advantage of its upper riparian location and must cooperate with Pakistan for resolution of technical questions at any of the forums given in the Treaty.

It would be a folly to talk about another water treaty between Pakistan and India on the pretext that Pakistan’s water is not utilised and it flows into the sea. This would give an excuse to the upper riparian China to divert Brahmaputra waters because most of the Indian water flows into the sea unutilised too.

Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk