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By Building the Sawalkot Dam, Is India Using Water as a Weapon Against Pakistan?

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by OverLoad, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. OverLoad

    OverLoad Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    The Sawalkot hydroelectric project could be very damaging for Pakistan, reducing flows to the already water-stressed country.

    [​IMG]
    Representative image: the Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project across the Chenab River at Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. Credit: ICIMOD Kathmandu/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

    Work on a hydroelectric power project at Sawalkot is all set to begin this year on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir. The Chenab is part of the ‘western rivers’ of the Indus system over whose waters Pakistan “shall receive … unrestricted use” and “which India is under obligation to let flow” under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 (IWT). Interference in the flows is permitted for specified uses, including hydroelectric projects. This 1,856 megawatt dam has received clearance from the Indian environment ministry’s ‘Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects’. Exercising its right under the IWT to the maximum and with the objective of eliminating the power-deficient status of Jammu, the Indian government has announced the need to expedite the project.

    The Sawalkot project was approved at a meeting held on February 20, 2017. Numerous other hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir have been proposed by India, all of which faced objection from Pakistan due to the adverse impact it might have on that country. Significantly, the push for the latest project in Jammu seems to have come after India lost 18 soldiers to an armed attack by four Pakistani militants in Uri last September. Does this mean India may now be using water as a weapon against Pakistan? Pakistan is highly dependent on the water from the Indus and its tributaries for its agricultural and domestic purposes. Islamabad fears the Sawalkot dam will reduce the amount of water that flows through this water-stressed country.

    After the Uti attack, what emerged from a meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi held regarding the IWT was very clear when he said, “Blood and water cannot flow in the same direction”. Modi’s statement indicates that India is sending a signal to Pakistan by making more use of the western rivers namely Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – that were primarily under the control of Pakistan. The eastern rivers have anyway been apportioned under India’s control as per the IWT. The 57-year-old treaty has been maintained by residual goodwill by the two countries. Continued terrorist activities emerging from Pakistan obviously strain the goodwill.

    The water politics doesn’t end there. The Tulbul navigation project – a 439-feet-long, 40-feet-wide barrage to be constructed on the Jhelum river which would aid easy transport of commodities from Srinagar and Baramula – was suspended when Pakistan claimed it was a violation of the IWT. Following the Uri attacks, the Indian government is also reviewing the Tulbul project with the aim of resuming work on it. Islamabad says the flow of water into the Jhelum would be controlled by India and could result in droughts or floods in Azad Kashmir. In a worst case scenario, Pakistani analysts say multitudes of people will be affected due to the shortage of food, and productivity will be extremely low, with water-intensive crops like rice and cotton being deprived of water.

    Though consistent with the IWT, the Salal and Baglihar dams on the Chenab river are believed to have had a detrimental impact on Pakistan and now, with the setting up of the Sawalkot dam, India seems to be adding to Pakistan’s apprehensions.

    As per the IWT, despite Pakistan’s exclusive control over the western rivers, India can use the water from these rivers for domestic, non-consumptive, agriculture and hydropower-generation purposes. With the treaty permitting India to use 3.6 million acres for storage facilities, an option that India has not used until now, Pakistan cannot prevent the construction of the Sawalkot dam.

    That doesn’t mean there is no scope for debate. The IWT is to be applied and interpreted in line with customary international laws, which lays down a fundamental rule: If there is a development project that may cause significant harm to another country, there is a duty to prevent or at least mitigate such harm. According to the World Commission on Dams, “The end of any dam project must result in sustainable development of human welfare, that is, it must be economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable”. This seems to give Pakistan a reasonable claim to inhibit the construction activity, so as to protect its people from the acute water shortage that may well follow from the Sawalkot dam. In the past, Pakistan has time and again raised objections to India’s proposal for the Sawalkot project. In spite of this, India aims now to expedite it.

    Environmental activists have also voiced their concern over the construction of the dam, which would be tantamount to ecological destruction. There will be a massive displacement of population and the land needed for the dam will sweep away large areas of forest cover. Moreover, the Sawalkot dam is close to the Himalayan Boundary Thrust Zone, where a number of earthquakes have been recorded.

    India seems intent to take on Pakistan in this water feud, disregarding the magnitude of the impact it could have on its historic enemy. The late John Briscoe, a water resources expert at Harvard University, suggested a way forward to settle this constant water feud between the two countries. He said that India, being an upper riparian state that has all the cards in its hands, must be the one to bring about a difference. According to Briscoe, India must be more open minded and understanding towards the existential crisis faced by its water-starved neighbour. The government of India should show a generosity of spirit that is integral to being a great power and a good neighbour.

    Avenging the loss faced by the Indian army in the terrorist-perpetrated Uri attacks by building dams and using water to retaliate against a large civilian population seems an unusually harsh response. Both countries must deal with disputes related to the Indus by delinking themselves from historic grievances and from other Kashmir-related issues. In Briscoe’s words, “It is a sign of statesmanship, not weakness, to acknowledge the past and then move beyond it.”

    The Permanent Indus Commission comprising officials from India and Pakistan is meeting in Lahore this week. That is as good a forum as any for the two sides to find an amicable resolution to this problem.

    Armin Rosencranz is a professor of law at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, where Merlin Elizabeth Joseph is a second year law student.

    https://thewire.in/117410/sawalkot-dam-india-pakistan/
     
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  2. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    India today flatly denied having agreed to talks on Indus Water Treaty in Washington and also denied having withdrawn Miyar hydel designs or hold project work, contrary to Pakistani statements yesterday that India had accepted the same.
     
  3. OverLoad

    OverLoad Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Source please.
     
  4. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...talks-on-indus-in-us/articleshow/57762845.cms

    NEW DELHI: India is unlikely to participate in any meeting in Washington DC with Pakistan on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in April, as has been announced by the Pakistan government after a meeting of the Indus Commissioners in Islamabad on Tuesday. Sources also said India had not, as Pakistan claimed, agreed to halt the Miyar hydroelectric project in J&K.

    The Pakistan water and power minister Khwaja Asif apparently jumped the gun when he announced at a press conference during the IWT meeting that the two countries would hold a "three-day 'way forward'" meeting on the Ratle and Kishenganga projects in April in Washington. According to Pakistan media reports, this proposed meeting would be mediated by the World Bank vice-president.
     
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  5. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Khwaja Asif is same douchebag who used to threaten India with atami strike on almost daily basis, not so long ago. But then something happened and he shut his mouth.
    @Agent_47
     
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  6. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major REGISTERED

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    The issue is simple. Every Indian killed from a Chinese Pistol or Chinese AK 47 is counted.

    And those who provided these weapons to the pigs , shall be responsible for their own demise.
     
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  7. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major REGISTERED

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    If Terrorism stops by India utilising all its options provided in the IWT, then so it be.

    After all for the government of India , 1 Indian is more important than 6 billion other humans on earth.
     
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  8. An Indian

    An Indian 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Thank you for recognizing that we are legally within our limits to do this. But then you really shouldn't have a problem - we are only helping the people of J&K - people for whom you guys "support morally" and are willing to eat grass for. Perhaps it is time for the Pakistanis to try dry grass... Achaar might go with it... Pakistani achaar is indeed brilliant.

    This is SO sad.
    Death by starvation. But then all's fair in love and war. Jab pyar nahin to waar hi sahi.

    Please don't be apprehensive, be terrified. More is coming - like a couple of :p containers air-dropped...

    Yaaawwn!!! So, what's new? Why don't you ALSO morally support them...

    Ab bolo na!!! Chotte bhai par waar kyo kar rahe ho. PLEASE play the victim card!!!! Please, please - I'm looking forward to it.

    BTW, since you make this point fairly well. I didn't mention anything about religion here. But if you WANT me to, I can bring in all that stuff about Jannat and Houris, the Caliphate and the Mussalman being destined to rule stuff... Do let me know. Happy to oblige.[/QUOTE]
     
  9. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major REGISTERED

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    We should ourselves not break the treaty, just utilise all the options it gives us.

    The rest of work will be done by Pakistan Army [The Real Ruler of Parasitic State of Pakistan ] , who are corrupt to the core and will donate all of Pakistani lands to its retiring generals but won't build dams for its citizens.

    And every dam not built in Pakistan , will bring about their own demise.
     
  10. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Absolutely. Govt of India's prime responsibility is to protect Indians at any cost and not to a Pakistani or Bangladeshi. We must do what we have to do to achieve that. If they will come with bullets, we have bigger.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  11. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

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    We are going to Freezes it in deep freezer ,LOL
     
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