America

Friday, December 09, 2011

India and Pakistan: Water War May Go Nuclear?

Indus River Basin (from U.S. Senate report)
Interesting link up from Oilprice.com to an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper in John Daly's Pakistani Editorial Says Nuclear War with India "Inevitable" as Water Dispute Continues:
Every now and again, one reads an editorial that stops the reader in his tracks.

On 8 December, with the headline "War Inevitable To Tackle Indian Water Aggression," Pakistan’s Urdu-language Nawa-e Waqt, issued such a screed.

Nawa-e Waqt bluntly commented on India’s Kashmiri water polices and Islamabad’s failure up to now to stop New Delhi’s efforts to construct hydroelectric dams in Kashmir, “India should be forcibly prevented from constructing these dams. If it fails to constrain itself, we should not hesitate in launching nuclear war because there is no solution except this.”
Read it all.

It seems that India is building dams in Kashmir that may allow it to control the flow of water through Pakistan - water vital to Pakistan's agricultural survival. The Pakistanis take exception to having their fate lie on the hands on some flow control wheel on Indian dams. Daly reports:
Bashir Ahmad, a geologist in Srinagar, Kashmir commented grimly about the Indians’ future intentions, “They will switch the Indus off to make Pakistan solely dependent on India. It’s going to be a water bomb.”
As noted in the Oilprice.com article, Afghanistan is also looking to build dams on the Kabul River, which also would impact Pakistan. India is reported to be supporting these dams. The effect is to make the Pakistanis even less comfortable.

The U.S. Senate report, "AVOIDING WATER WARS: WATER SCARCITY AND CENTRAL ASIA’S GROWING IMPORTANCE FOR STABILITY IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN" can be downloaded here:
Of all the rivers flowing into Pakistan, the Indus is the most essential because of its importance to the agricultural sector. Pakistan’s agriculture relies on the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system fed by the Indus waters; in fact, water withdrawals for agricultural irrigation represent almost 97 percent of all withdrawals in Pakistan. This irrigation network covers an estimated 83 percent of cultivated land in the country and contributes to nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product.
Water. Can't live without it. Might go to war over it. One of those "national survival" threats.

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