India’s Water Terrorism against Pakistan


By Sajjad Shaukat
Article was published in Daily Daw of February 15, 2010

The international community has taken war against terrorism seriously, while not much bothering about bloodless forms of wars, for instance India’s water terrorism.

In a bid to calm Islamabad’s concerns and speaking in diplomatic language, Indus Water Commissioner of India G Ranganathan, who recently visited Pakistan, said: “India had been affected as much as Pakistan due to water shortage in the Indus,” denying that India’s decision to build dams on rivers led to water shortage in Pakistan. He rejected Islamabad’s concerns at water theft by Delhi or violation of the Indus Water Treaty, assuring his counterpart, Syed Jamaat Ali Shah that all issues relating to water would be resolved through dialogue. However, ground realties are quite different from what Ranganathan maintained.

Nevertheless, apart from repeated violations of the treaty, for instance the construction of the Krishanganga project over Neelam River, New Delhi wants to use water as leverage in the composite dialogue especially when it comes to Kashmir where a new phase of protests has started. In this respect, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while talking about the revival of Pak-India dialogue, said the other day that Pakistan’s case on Kashmir and water was based on truth, and the government would fight it with full strength. One hopes Islamabad does not give up principled stand.

India’s policy of water terrorism can be confirmed from the report that it has secretly offered technical assistance to the Afghan government to construct a dam over Kabul River. These developments make it quite obvious that India is trying to use water as an instrument of terrorism against Pakistan in pursuit of its hostile aims. The conclusion is that New Delhi, taking advantage of the multiple internal as well as external challenges that Pakistan is facing, intends to advance its nefarious design of keeping a firm hold on Kashmir. The state is located in the Indus River basin and contributes to the flow of all major rivers entering Pakistan.

According to all evidence, its intelligence agency RAW has established training centres for terrorists in Afghanistan. These militants are known to be committing such heinous crimes as suicide attacks, bombing of schools, etc. The scarcity of water that the stoppage of the flow of water by New Delhi creates spreads despondency among the public in Pakistan and ruins its crops. This scarcity, as we have seen, has pitted Sindh against Punjab on the question of sharing water.

Thus by employing water as an instrument of blackmailing, India is trying to intensify political unrest, economic instability and social strife in Pakistan. India’s recent decision to resume contact with Pakistan should surprise no one. It wants talks’ focus on terrorism instead of other issues on the composite dialogue agenda. Islamabad must forcefully bring out India’s water terrorism and insist that it must abide by the Indus Waters Treaty, apart from tackling Kashmir.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

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