"Dealing with Pakistan's fears on water" - An Indian Perspective
Ramaswamy R. Iyer , The Hindu, Jan 28, 2011
Lower riparian anxiety
The general lower-riparian anxiety vis-à-vis the upper riparian is accentuated in this case by the antagonistic political relationship between Pakistan and India. In the context of such a relationship, it is easy for the people to be persuaded that the upper riparian has malign intentions and might either stop the flows or store and release the waters in a flood to the detriment of the lower riparian. There is no need to discuss these fears further, as they were fully taken note of and covered by special provisions in the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 (IWT) to safeguard Pakistan against these dangers. If a ‘visceral lower riparian anxiety' tends to persist despite the IWT, there can be no institutional answer to it. The only circumstance which will ensure a total absence of anxiety on Pakistan's part would be a total absence of Indian structures on the western rivers, but that is not what the IWT says. It permits Indian projects on the western rivers, but stipulates restrictions and conditions that safeguard Pakistan's interests. The best reassurance that Pakistan can have is full Indian compliance with those Treaty provisions, and this is zealously watched by the Indus Commissioner for Pakistan in the Permanent Indus Commission.
Water scarcity and reduced flows
There is, in Pakistan as in India, a growing perception of water scarcity and of a crisis looming on the horizon. Given the mutual hostility between the two countries, it is not surprising that there is a tendency in Pakistan to believe that the scarcity it is experiencing or fearing is partly attributable to upper riparian actions. While popular perceptions in this regard may not be based on proper information and understanding, they seem to receive unwitting corroboration in reported findings by Pakistani scholars of a trend of reduction in the flows in the western rivers. A ready inference would be that there must be diversions in the upstream country. Denials by the upper riparian are apt to be received with scepticism. The only answer to this is to institute a joint study by experts of both countries to determine whether in fact there is a trend of reduced flows in the western rivers and, if so, to identify the factors responsible.
Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension - New York Times (July 20, 2010)
Indo-Pak water issues: room for cooperation? By Tridivesh Singh Maini - Daily Times
Ebb and Flow: Indian-Pakistani Water Relations Dry Up - Jane Review
Additional Readings - with Thanks to Jakob Steiner
Searching for conflict in water - Dawn
Water War Mongering or Untapped Potentials? - Rug Pundits