Pic : Aljazeera

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that while the entire world has recognised Pakistan as the sponsor and promoter of terrorism, the country is still in denial mode. When he was asked about the plans of Indian government on continuing the Indus Water treaty he said, “There are differences on the treaty. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It can’t be a one-sided affair.” This comes as a big development as India has rarely tried to touch the Indus Treaty even during the worst of times.

The Indus Water Treaty is a water sharing treaty signed between Indian and Pakistan in 1960 under which India and Pakistan have agreed not to enter water wars. Also, the treaty gives control of the rivers Beas, Ravi and Satluj – three main rivers of the Indus basin to India. Under the treaty, India provides 80% of the water carried by the river Indus to Pakistan, and cannot block the supply of water to Pakistan, given the fact that all these rivers originate and pass through India. Since the treaty was signed in 1960, India has never broken the promises and provided Pakistan with water from these rivers. All these rivers combined provide irrigation to 2.6 crore acres (110,000 square kilometre) – roughly about 20 % of entire area of Pakistan and home to more than 60% population of Pakistan. It is considered to be one of the most successful ‘water-sharing treaties’ between two nations in the world.

If India breaks the Indus water treaty, it will bleed Pakistan tremendously as lack of water supply through the rivers of Indus basin will lead to unprecedented droughts and famines, which will affect most of the big cities and more than 60% population of Pakistan. Since India has dams and reservoirs built on these rivers, all India needs is to close the gates of dams on these rivers and block the water supply of Pakistan through these rivers. The effects of this step will be much more severe than any of the nuclear attacks as it will leave their land infertile and uncultivable for long. More importantly, it will not involve firing a single bullet or any ammunition.

India must go on and block the Indus waters by not following the treaty. There are concerns that China may also block the water of Brahmaputra to Assam, but the fact is that Chinese have no dams and reservoirs built on Brahmaputra as of now. Even if they want to do the same with India, it will take them many years before they develop an infrastructure to store the water of Brahmaputra they are blocking. by that time, Pakistan would have faced unprecedented and irreversible damage.


Kshitij Mohan