Indo-Pak water dispute

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Indo-Pak water dispute is open for . The scholarship allows level programm(s) in the field of taught at . The deadline of the scholarship is .

Indo-Pak water dispute

India has started construction of some of the planned dams on western rivers, thus posing a serious threat to the agriculture and hydel projects of Pakistan. India’s think-tanks have been working on river diversion plans with a view to creating acute water shortage in Pakistan, which could lead to acute shortage of wheat and other crops and also stoking inter-provincial conflicts over distribution of water.

The Indus River Basin has been an area of conflict between India and Pakistan for about four decades. Spanning 1,800 miles, the river and its tributaries together make up one of the largest irrigation canals in the world. The division of the river basin water has created friction among the countries of South Asia, and among their states and provinces. In Pakistan, accusations of overdrawing of share of water made by each province have arguably resulted in the lack of water supplies to coastal regions of Pakistan. Whereas Pakistan media has been highlighting internal political squabbles, it never paid attention to India’s efforts to dry Pakistan and failed to launch a sustained offensive though construction of Indian dams on western rivers, which is posing a direct threat to Pakistan’s national interest.

On 1st April 1948, India had stemmed the flow of tributaries to Pakistan and discontinued water to the Dipalpur canal and main branches of Upper Bari Doab Canal. Pakistan wanted an equitable allocation of the flow of Indus River and its tributaries between the India and Pakistan. Negotiations had started from 1951, and the treaty was signed in 1960 that gave Pakistan the right to receive unrestricted flow of the western rivers, and it was obligatory on the part of India to allow the flow of water unimpeded with minor exceptions. It was provided in the treaty that in case of a dispute, the World Bank would appoint a ‘neutral expert’ whose decision would be final. Pakistan had taken the issue of Baglihar Dam with the United Nations, and verdict was given by the neutral expert suggesting amendments. Had India taken Pakistan’s objections to the project seriously and not tried to ride roughshod intransigently, both would have avoided the embarrassment of facing a neutral expert to adjudicate their dispute.

One does not have to be an agricultural scientist to know that water is indispensable to agriculture. It is a critical input into agriculture of a country especially when it is situated in an arid or semi-arid zone. Having all said, if Bhasha dam is not constructed within next five to 10 years, Pakistan will not be able to produce enough food-grains to meet the needs of the growing population. Loss of storage capacity due to sedimentation is causing serious drop even for existing agricultural production. Food shortages and energy shortfall have already blighted Pakistan with the result that industry in all the provinces is only partially running and could come to a grinding halt. Previous governments had not taken timely action and did not take up the matter with the UN or International Court of Justice. The present government and opposition parties seem to be too preoccupied with their power-sharing or power-grabbing plans and do not have time to focus on the problems faced by the nation. It was in this backdrop that Muttehida Kisan Mahaz had blamed the government for its apathy to their problems.

International community must realize that water issue between India and Pakistan could be a source of conflict and war between two nuclear states would not only endanger the region but the world at large. The People of Azad Jammu and Kashmir should also raise their voice against Indian water aggression. The Indus Basin comprises the River Indus and five main rivers, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The total area of the Indus Basin is roughly 450,000 square miles, most of which lies in Pakistan. In Pakistan there exists one of the most highly developed canal irrigation system and approximately 37 million acres of land is dependent on the flow of Indus water. At the time of independence, though major portion of the Indus Basin (31 Million Acres) formed part of Pakistan, however the control of most of existing structures on the rivers of Indus Basin fell into the Indian hands, being upper riparian. The consequences of such an unfair demarcation surfaced soon after when India started interfering with the waters flowing downstream by stopping waters on rivers Ravi and Sutlej (irrigating 1.6 Million Acres in Pakistan) from 1 April 1948.

The stress, which subsequently mounted in the region was felt around the globe, and in 1951 World Bank offered its good offices for resolution of the issue. The efforts ultimately culminated into an agreement between Pakistan and India in the shape of Indus Waters Treaty signed in 1960. As per Indus Waters Treaty, India got the complete rights on the eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas) whereas Pakistan was given the rights on western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) with some specific provisions for use of water by India from these rivers.

The Indus Waters Treaty 1960 is being implemented through and institutional arrangement, that is, Permanent Indus Commission comprising of two Commissioners, one from each country. Currently, the Commission is involved in resolution of three major water disputes, which included Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant, Kishenganga Hydroelectric Plant and Wuller Barrage. As stated above neutral expert gave the verdict and some of Pakistan’s concerns were addressed, though Pakistan still has reservations about the verdict. The information about Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant, located on River Chenab, was communicated by India in 1992. Failing to resolve the issue bilaterally at the Commission and government levels, the issue of Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant was referred to the World Bank upon which the determination by a Neutral Expert who upheld Pakistan’s objections on freeboard, pondage and level of power intake.

However, the Neutral Expert’s determination regarding location of spillway gates and concession to India to draw-down 17 meters below the Dead Storage Level surpassed not only his given mandate, but also was neither an issue nor a question presented to the Neutral Expert. Pakistan thus reserves the right to refer the determination regarding “draw down”. The Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant was commissioned in 2008, and during its initial filling, India again violated the clauses of the Treaty by not filling the dam in stipulated timeframe and by not ensuring requisite inflow at Marala Head works of Pakistan causing loss to Pakistani farmers.

India is obliged to provide information of their projects to Pakistan six months before starting construction. In all instances, India started work without providing requisite information. Also, the information, whenever provided, is normally incomplete. India stalls resolution process on the plea of more discussions at the level of the Commission while the construction continues. This leads towards a fait accompli situation when Pakistan approaches for resolution of issues to the institutions (World Bank/Court of Arbitration). India terms the flow of water recorded by Pakistan as under-reported. Without any prejudice to the stand taken, Pakistan has suggested the installation of Telemetric System for measurement of flow of Indus System of Rivers, particularly on the western rivers to ensure the transparency in recording the flow of water. India should bear in mind that it cannot dry Pakistan through water terrorism, and it continued with its sinister designs, Pakistan would not sit just to watch its destruction.

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Indo-Pak water dispute is available to undertake level programs at .

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Following subject are available to study under this scholarship program.

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