Modi’s threat to Pakistan


Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi said that water which ‘belongs’ to India cannot be allowed to flow into Pakistan. “The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan… The government will do everything to provide enough water to our farmers,” the Indian PM said at the inauguration of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bathinda.Speaking in reference to the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan, the hardline Hindu nationalist denied being concerned with politics, even as his statements were termed a bid to woo Punjabi farmers by Indian media. The 1960 World Bank-mediated Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan is considered one of the great success stories of water diplomacy, especially as it has survived the India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971, 1999 and much bad blood during and after the wars.Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan in Sept 1960, water of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum — are to be shared between the two countries.Pakistan has said revocation of the Indus Waters Treaty can be taken as a ‘hostile’ act against Pakistan. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz earlier said that if India tries to interrupt water flow into Pakistan, it will not only violate the Indus Waters Treaty, but also set a regional state practice under which international law can be serve as a precedent. “It will provide China, for example, a justification to consider of suspension of waters of the Brahmaputra river,” he said.Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack in September in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed. Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’ and accused Pakistan of involvement.
The concerns that India could use water as a weapon to destroy our agriculture and economy are not totally uncalled for as since long it is pursuing a systematic plan to get leverage on the rivers flowing into Pakistan. It has already built several dams and is building more to regain control of western rivers which is a clear violation of the Indus Water Treaty but we have not done sufficient to protect our interests in this regard. India doing this under a well thought out strategy to render Pakistan’s link-canal system redundant, destroy agriculture of Pakistan which is its mainstay and turn the country into a desert. Hence, whether or not the Indian leaders threaten openly, they are indeed pursuing a plan to impinge on Pakistan’ water rights.
There are some more conventions in place in addition to the World Bank-brokered Indus Water Treaty that Pakistan may rely on to protect its water rights. Apart from exposing Indian water aggression at appropriate forums, we also need to pay full attention towards early construction of big water reservoirs to overcome the current water shortage and safe our agriculture sector from total collapse. The office of Indus Water Commission also needs to be strengthened to protect Pakistan’s interests in legal battles for implementation of provisions of Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan also should strongly take up the issue at every relevant forum and also informed the world regarding the nefarious design of India against Pakistan.