Pakistan’s water challenges
Pakistan’s water challenges.
Pakistani and Indian officials met for the second time in two months in Washington to find ways to resolve their long-running disputes relating to water distribution between the two neighbouring countries.
The two days of talks, brokered by the World Bank, focused on Pakistan’s objections on Ratle (850MW) and Kishanganga (330MW) hydroelectric projects of India on Chenab and Jhelum which Islamabad says are designed in violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
The World Bank, after the talks, said the meetings were part of a process to safeguard benefits of the 57-year-old Indus Waters Treaty.
Elena Karaban told media that “these meetings are a continuation of a discussion on how to safeguard the treaty for the benefit of the people in both countries.” However, a section of Indian media maintains that the talks themselves were sign of a “softening” of the tough stance of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards Pakistan.
We should not go to the World Bank.
Pakistan has expressed growing concerns over Indian belligerence on water issue in recent years.
Even on water issues with India, instead of having an informed debate on how to tackle this issue and what are the challenges for the country, the discussions are often restricted to bombastic statements based on nationalistic verbose.
The Indus Waters Treaty has been touted as the most successful accord between any two estranged neighbours in the world over water issue, as it has survived wars and conflicts between the two countries since the treaty was signed in 1960.
More importantly, Pakistan’s water challenges are not just confined to issues related to India alone, but because of climate change, melting glaciers and evolving precipitation patterns it has become all the more important for Pakistan to try to address water related issues more seriously.