General Mirza Aslam Beg, Former Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan
India’s Supreme Court on 27 February 2012, ordered the government to implement the2002 project to link major rivers in India ‘in a time-bound manner’. The over $100 billion project will link around 30 rivers, to ensure flood control and equitable distribution of water by efficient transfer of water from surplus to deficit areas. The project is split into the Himalayan component (with 14 linkages) and the Peninsular component (with 16 linkages). The Himalayan component includes linking the Brahmaputra, Ganges and other rivers. The Peninsular component is to develop a southern Water Grid. This includes linking of Krishna, Cauvery, Mahanadi and Godavari rivers. Thus, the project aims to link 30 major rivers and construction of large dams within India, Nepal and Bhutan, requiring international agreements with these countries.
Pakistan sharply reacted to this dangerous Indian move of inter linking of disputed rivers in the Occupied Kashmir and said that the $100 billion project to link around 30 rivers would strangulate Pakistan, but no response from India, who continues building 300 small and major dams, linking the rivers to contain Pakistan’s water share. Additionally, “India has allocated $212 billion for turning the water courses of Chenab, Jhelum and Indus from North to South and deprive Pakistan of its share of water and establish Indian water hegemony – an all-encompassing strategy to destabilize Pakistan. These dams are affecting seven million acres of fertile land.
According to articles 3, 4 and 7 of Indus Water Treaty, India could not construct any water reservoirs, over western rivers of Chenab, Jhelum and Sindh nor it could divert the catchment areas of tributary canals of these rivers. New Delhi is also bound to notify Pakistan in advance about the water schemes but so far it has failed to do so. Pakistan only becomes aware of the project, when they are complete by 70 percent. These include 24 projects on River Chenab, 52 on River Jhelum and 18 on River Indus. Pakistan’s agriculture is under serious threat.
Rivers, lakes and aquifers, are national security assets to be protected. What plans does Pakistan have to challenge Indian water hegemony?
General Aslam Beg is one of the most authoritative analysts in Pakistan. He can be reached at email@example.com