Nawaz Sharif’s exchange of dialogue with his Chinese counterpart who is on his latest visit to Pakistan over extending a helping hand in proliferating Civil Nuclear Technology is a judicious move in the right direction; something which if executed will rehabilitate the persisting energy crunch of Pakistan. Yes, an unqualified Chinese assistance is quintessential to drive Pakistani industries out of paralysis. The given developments are highly appreciable; however, she is turning a blind eye toward an issue more imperative to be dealt with that is ‘water’. It overrides security concerns more than energy does.
The recent verdict of International Court of Arbitration at Hague in favor of India giving her permission to divert water required for the Kishanganga hydroelectric dam is a severe diplomatic setback and a fatal blow to the legitimate appeals of Pakistan. The extreme sort of diplomatic lethargy demonstrated in presenting the grievances by the Water commission of Pakistan tarnished her stance in the international community on water dispute.
What matters at present the most is a legal authorization by the International Court of Arbitration to India to get through the diversion of rivers gushing into Pakistan’s territory. The fascinating propaganda veiled under the prospering picture, which can only be painted after the completion of dam projects of India, has malicious setbacks for Pakistan as well as the region. Unfortunately, Pakistan failed to deliver her grievances to the Court. India’s application of successful hydroelectric scheme will lure the business magnates of India to push their latest industrial boom ahead, particularly, the industries related to advanced technology.
Apart from energy production, the desert-dwellers of Indian town on the peripheries of Pakistan’s border will face no more water scarcity issues. Besides this, an edge which steers her to a dominating position is the control of water, more precisely, authorized control of water. The diplomatic victory at Hague has driven India on the verge of a win-win situation whilst Pakistan’s security, to make the whole count, is teetering on the brink.
The circumstances are not conducive enough for the latter; every penny earned within the country is the direct outcome of the agricultural production made possible from the irrigating water on which soon India is going to hoist the flag of her victory. Underlying the ground realities, in any apparent event of misperception, she can divert the flow of water absolutely smashing up the very survival of the latter or in the other case, can let loose an abrupt wave of water to foment a floody situation. In both cases Pakistan will be at a receiving end.
To the assumption of many scholars within and abroad, the dramatic shift of events just explained above is a mere perception thus it has nothing to do with reality. Mind you, wars have no guarantees for security, wars are something where possibilities become realities. When compromises show dead resilience and states stubbornly stick to their stance even the nuclear deterrence cannot prevent wars.
Strategists in South Asia claimed after the nuclear explosions of 1998 that there would be no wars. Just within a year, Kargil War though short but bloody, proved everyone wrong. Hence, India has successfully acquired a weapon deadlier than Nukes, ‘water’. Pakistan is in a vicious circle of security dilemma.
Thus the undermined image and the security milieu have necessitated the urgency for Pakistan to mark a vigorous diplomatic come back. India’s rapid development in the dam projects should have been a wakeup call along ago. Yet, the events can swing in favor of the former lest she diplomatically responds to her rival. The new regime of Nawaz Sharif ought to appoint the most capable and shrewd diplomats with the very task to create some alliance in the Arab community as well as Europe. Once the Big Guns have their direct sympathy toward Pakistan, she can project her cause more confidently. Diplomatic fight back is a far better option now than to set idle and wage war when the fish jumps out of the frying pan.
A food for thought for the fresh, but experienced government.
Jameel-ur-Rehman Baloch is a student of MSC International Relations at NUML National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell 0312-2101531