It seems our government’s lenient attitude towards India’s continuous efforts in waging a full blown war with Pakistan is only forcing them to make more efforts in making Pakistan retaliate. What’s worse and questionable is that Pakistan hasn’t even raised the issue properly in front of the world.
Several people have died and millions have been lost as property damage as per media reports. People close to the borders have been forced to leave their homes. Yet, our government hasn’t protested properly.
India’s New Move
Now, the Modi-led government is stepping up its efforts to “steal” Pakistan’s water by building huge water storage dams and canals on the Indus river system, directly affecting the water flow towards Pakistan.
A BBC report has quoted some senior Indian officials, stating that the country is planning to maximize water use from the Indus and other western rivers.
Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to block Pakistani water citing that the water belonged to India and cannot be allowed inside Pakistan.
“The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan… Government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers”.
Back then, Pakistani government did not quote the statement and did not take the matter to international mediators like the World Bank and the United Nations. This has provided the Indian government, with the much needed confidence to actually realize its threats.
The Indus Water Treaty
Brokered in 1960, the World Bank is a guarantor to ensure that the treaty is not violated. The treaty gives Pakistan access to the western rivers (Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus) while India owns the water in the Eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas).
Read More: Understanding the Indus Water Treaty: Can India Really Block Pakistan’s Rivers? [Analysis]
After the treaty was signed, Pakistan had ten years to build dams and received ample funding to do so. However, since then Pakistan hasn’t been working on building more dams which has resulted in some decisions going in favour if India when it proposed to build Hydro power projects.
Pakistan has had some success is holding off Indian projects like Kishanganga and has disputed Baglihar and Wullar.
The Current Scenario
Since India took over Kashmir, it has access to the sources of the three western rivers. While India is only allowed to make use of the water without affecting the water flow in the river, the country now plans to build water storage, canals and huge hydro projects. In other words, Indian plans to violate the Indus Water Treaty.
Indian officials used the word “maximize”, which means it doesn’t intend to straight out block the water. Instead, their government plans to develop projects on the western rivers.
Can India Violate the Treaty?
In short, of course it can. However, it might not be possible for it to consume all the water. Secondly, violating an international treaty has its repercussions. Not only would India be criticized throughout the world, though Pakistani government would need to make an effort for that.
If the push comes to shove, China and Russia’s increasing interest in Pakistan is quite troublesome for India. Indus starts in Tibet, a Chinese territory. China could end up blocking the Indus and other rivers which start in China. Russia could also pressurise the Indian government. However, Pakistan would still need to take a stand before an outsider can come to its support
For the time being, these are still just threats but unless Pakistan takes the matter seriously and takes the matter to international courts, India might go ahead with its threats.
The synopsis is that Pakistan needs to “properly” protest and take the matter to international courts. Unless steps are taken soon, it could hold a devastating outcome for Pakistan, especially considering that climate change has already hurt our nation pretty hard.
Let’s hope it is just leniency on Pakistan’s part and not intentional ignorance.