Op-ed — Chenab waters and Pakistan’s fear

Circle of Blue recently reported on the Baglihar Dam controversy and the role of the U.S. in international water policy. Find a full size map of the region here. From the Daily Times of Pakistan:

India’s National Security Adviser Mr. Narayanan has stated that India will not block the Chenab waters to hurt Pakistan and has referred to the excellent chemistry developing between Mr. Zardari and the Indian prime minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, for the normalisation of relations between the two countries. This is exactly what is needed: that the two leaders save the gains they have made in restoring mutual trust; and it is for India to arrange to defuse Pakistani fears in the forthcoming meeting of the water commissioners. Unfortunately in the past much of the bad blood was created because of the delays India created in the arrangement of these meetings.
Cooperation rather than conflict is needed to address the water problem. If India helps Pakistan assure its people that its waters have depleted from natural causes, the right focus will develop in lieu of looking for the Indian scapegoat. The truth is that Pakistan’s annual renewable water availability has shrunk from 5,600 cubic metres per person in 1947 to 1,000 cubic metres today, “a level that is expected to induce chronic water scarcity on a scale sufficient to impede human development”. On top of that, India’s resolve to construct 16 to 17 dams on the Chenab River and six to seven on the Jhelum River — both “Pakistani rivers” — doesn’t help in allaying the fears aroused by the low Chenab flows at the present time.

Read the entire op-ed in the Daily Times.

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