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Sunday, April 15, 2012

India - Pakistan war brewing over water rights?

Blogman's Notes:

The most valuable resource on the Earth is water and wars have been fought over water throughout history. History may soon repeat itself with Pakistan getting increasingly frustrated over what it perceives to be a threat to its very existence - Water! Most of the rivers that bring fresh water to Pakistan flow through India and Pakistan is accusing India of excessive Dam building activities that will cut off or greatly reduce its supply of fresh water. Wars are fought over reasons far more frivolous than a serious matter like the supply of a nation's water. The tragedy is that both these nations are nuclear powers and even a minor skirmish is always in danger of becoming a mushroom cloud!

Submitted by John C.K. Daly of
A peaceful and stable Pakistan is integral to western efforts to pacify Afghanistan, but Islamabad’s obsessions with its giant eastern neighbor may render such issues moot.
Since partition in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought four armed conflicts, in 1947, 1965, 1971 (which led to the establishment of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan) and the 1999 Kargil clash.

With the exception of the 1971 conflict, which involved rising tensions in East Pakistan, the others have all involved issues arising from control of Kashmir.

But now a rising new element of discord threatens to precipitate a new armed clash between southern Asia’s two nuclear powers – water.

Lahore’s “The Nation’ newspaper on Sunday published an editorial entitled, “War with India inevitable: Nizami,” the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief and Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust Chairman, Majid Nizami, asked his fellow citizens to prepare for a war with India over water issues. Nizami told those attending the “Pakistan-India relations; Our rulers- new wishes” session at Aiwan-e-Karkunan Tehrik-e-Pakistan, which he chaired, “Indian hostilities and conspiracies against the country will never end until she is taught a lesson.”

While The Nation is a conservative daily, part of the Nawa-i-Waqt publishing group, with a circulation of roughly 20,000, it has a website, and what’s more, close ties to Pakistan’s highest military circles, so Nizami’s comments should hardly be rejected out of hand.

Furthermore, Niazmi’s audience included some high ranking Pakistani officials, including Nazaria-i-Pakistan Vice Chairman Dr Rafique Ahmed; Pakistan Movement Workers-Trust Chairman, retired Colonel  Jamshed Ahmed Tareen; former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan; Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Secretary General Qari Zawar Bahadur; retired Air Marshall Khurished Anwar Mirza; retired Brigadier Hamid Saeed Akhtar and Jamaat-e-Islami Lahore Chief Ameer-ul-Azeem, among others.

At issue are Pakistan’s concerns over India’s ongoing construction of two hydroelectric dams on the upper reaches of the Indus River. Islamabad is concerned that the 45 megawatt, 190-foot tall Nimoo-Bazgo concrete dam 44 megawatt Chutak hydroelectric power project will reduce the Indus River’s flow towards Pakistan, as they are capable of storing up to 4.23 billion cubic feet of water, violating the terms of the bilateral 1960 Indus Water Treaty. The Indus, which begins in Indian-controlled Kashmir, is crucial to both India and Pakistan, but is currently experiencing water flows down 30 percent from its normal levels. The Indus is Pakistan's primary freshwater source, on which 90 percent of its agriculture depends. According to a number of Pakistani agriculture and water experts, the nation is heading towards a massive water shortage in the next couple of years due to insufficient water management practices and storage capacity, which will be exacerbated by the twin Indian hydroelectric projects, as they will further diminish the Indus’ flow.

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