India’s plan for building a structure at the Jhelum River on the opening of Wular Lakes in Kashmir will allow India to release water between the Jhelum Rivers lean winter months. This plan has outraged India’s neighborhood Pakistan who believes that this project will grant India the authority to regulate water supply downstream to the farmers. Even after two and a half deadlock decades and several marathon rounds of consensual talks the agricultural issue still remain unsought.
Indo-Pak agricultural disputes
This dispute between these two rival countries is neither the first nor the last of its kind. Indus River water, Jhelum tributaries and the damns built here by India has a long lasted agricultural controversy between these two countries. Pakistan being an agriculture dominated economy rely strongly upon the Indus River tributaries, it’s a matter of concern because upstream damns built here will allow India to control water flow as it suits their needs.
Pakistan accuses New Delhi for lustfully intensifying country’s terrible water shortages and blocking of agricultural production. On the other hand Pakistan claims India to be responsible for ruining the livelihoods of many people in Pakistan. India claims all these accusations to be forged and paranoid without any scientific back-up.
They say in their defense that their damns run-of the river with the aim to generate hydroelectricity and in case of Jhelum’s Tulbul navigation project they aim to meet their development needs for facilitating year round trade. Additionally, India’s water commissioner Mr. Aranganathan claims that “we only fill our reservoirs for our projects initial stages and use water only as needed to run our tribunes and don’t prevent water from flowing into Pakistan”.
Indus water treaty
At the time of partition India Pakistan have signed a treaty called the Indus Water Treaty, this treaty gives Pakistan control over three western rivers: Jhelum , Chenab and Indus while three eastern rivers went to India’s share: Sutlej, Beas and Ravi. Now as Pakistan’s rivers naturally come from the Indian side so treat allows the latter to use this water for some purposes while setting sound ground rules with do’s and don’ts.
But with the challenges faced in 21st century the resilience against this contract has been increased. Pakistan’s agricultural fields employ half of the country’s population and account for its quarter GDP is now frequently parching. But with the current scenario Pakistan has been facing the brink of water scarcity.
India claims Pakistan’s malpractice to be accountable
India proclaims that Pakistan is facing this predicament due to their mismanagement policies related to water, agricultural practices that lead its land infertile, lack of proper storage facilities for natural water as well as climatic change is another reason to impact upon Pakistan’s agricultural growth. And the countries crippling water situation has nothing directly or completely to do with India’s upstream water and dam projects.
A report formulated by the US Foreign Relations Committee showed that neither of India’s dam would affect Pakistan’s water access but the accumulative effect of hydroelectric projects can give ability to Indian authorities to store enough water that can limit Pakistan’s water supply in critical moments of growing seasons. The findings obtained from the US Senate report serve as an appropriate equivalence for both countries overall water conflict.
While there would be no single diplomatic or legal tussle that will rupture the sensitive relations between the rival countries, the mutual effect of a number of standoffs can cause tension to boil over. For sure, water dispute has made it harder for long-time opponents to put their enmity behind.