Mounting Pressure on Pakistan, India’s Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari Tweeted:-
“Our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from Eastern Rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab”.
Post Pulwama Terror Attack, there was tremendous pressure on the Government to take stern action against Pakistan. Abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty is considered as one such option. However, this step has two dimensions. First, Pakistan has declared it will treat India’s abrogation of the treaty as “an act of war”, which may eventually trigger Nuclear War. Secondly “we need to remember that China is an upper riparian country in the Brahmaputra basin and also Pakistan’s closest ally”. Abrogation of the Treaty can lead to further complications in Foreign Policy of India. So restricting the flow of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was the only feasible step at the current juncture.
As per Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre, “The problem with Pakistan’s economy is that most of the major industries use tons of water—textiles, sugar, wheat—and there’s a tremendous amount of water that’s not only used but wasted.”, “Eventually, flows of the Indus are expected to decrease as global warming causes the Himalayan glaciers to retreat, while monsoons will get more intense. Indian move is likely to put Pakistan’s economy under tremendous pressure. With close to three-quarters of the country’s 192 million population dependent on the Indus basin for their livelihoods and drinking water, the move would “undermine Pakistan’s agriculture, which is the backbone of the economy,” he said. Farm income contributes about 24 percent to gross domestic product in Pakistan and more than 95 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated land is in the Indus river basin, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Nothing worries Pakistan’s military elite more than the prospect of India using the flow of rivers into Punjab as leverage. Reducing the water flow to Pakistan could create political instability or unrest in Punjab province, which is both a major agricultural producer and home to many of the top military brass, who effectively run Pakistan. Many serving and retired Generals have large farmlands along Indus and reduced water supply is definitely going to pinch them.
Terrifyingly, Pakistan only has the capacity to hold only 30-day reserve storage of water as a buffer against drought. Experts believe that India’s efforts to restrict the flow coupled with one drought year could ultimately destroy Pakistan’s ability to feed its exploding population. With one stroke, Pakistan has now been forced to decide between “bleeding India by thousand cuts” and staring at the specter of Crippled Economy and hungry population – indeed difficult time (Bure-Din) for Pakistan.
To quote Benjamin Franklin, “You will learn the worth of water when the well dries”. Hopefully, Pakistan also learns.
22 Feb 2019/Friday Written by Azadazraq