Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension

The article from today’s New York Times highlights the water problem that will increasingly take center stage as populations in Pakistan and India grow in the coming years. For the first sixty years, we have lived under the shadow of the Kashmir dispute which to this day is unresolved. Hopefully water problem will not grow into another problem between the two nations over the next few decades.

Both countries must realize that working together is the only solution. Pakistan’s concerns are quite valid, and the trust deficit, combined with rather dire consequences if water shortage does occur mean that Pakistan cannot take Indian assurances on their face value. On the other hand, Pakistan must realize that India has for most part abided by the Indus Water Treaty, even in the times of war. Given this rather remarkable record, trust deficit is not as large as it seems.

While India may have its own energy demands that are driving the construction of hydro-electric dams, just wishing Pakistani concerns away as baseless fears is the worst alternative that Indian leaders may choose. There is a genuine water shortfall in Pakistan and there is a genuine threat that peak season water storage may play havoc with Pakistani crops. Only way to allay these fears is to sit together with their Pakistani counterparts and modify existing accords that find common grounds for both parties.

What is clear at least from this article is that though the consequences of water shortage are catastrophic, the problem is not even remotely unsolvable.  But statesmanship is required to prevent this problem from becoming another persistent thorn in the side of the two countries for the next few decades.

Lets’s hope saner heads will prevail this time.


Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension

By Lydia Polgreen and Sabrina Tavernise

Published July 20, 2010


BANDIPORE, Kashmir — In this high Himalayan valley on the Indian-controlled side of Kashmir, the latest battle line between India and Pakistan has been drawn.

This time it is not the ground underfoot, which has been disputed since the bloody partition of British India in 1947, but the water hurtling from mountain glaciers to parched farmers’ fields in Pakistan’s agricultural heartland.

Indian workers here are racing to build an expensive hydroelectric dam in a remote valley near here, one of several India plans to build over the next decade to feed its rapidly growing but power-starved economy.

In Pakistan, the project raises fears that India, its archrival and the upriver nation, would have the power to manipulate the water flowing to its agriculture industry — a quarter of its economy and employer of half its population. In May it filed a case with the international arbitration court to stop it.

Water has become a growing source of tension in many parts of the world between nations striving for growth. Several African countries are arguing over water rights to the Nile. Israel and Jordan have competing claims to the Jordan River. Across the Himalayas, China’s own dam projects have piqued India, a rival for regional, and even global, power.

But the fight here is adding a new layer of volatility at a critical moment to one of the most fraught relationships anywhere, one between deeply distrustful, nuclear-armed nations who have already fought three wars.

The dispute threatens to upset delicate negotiations to renew peace talks, on hold since Pakistani militants killed at least 163 people in attacks in Mumbai, India, in November 2008. The United States has been particularly keen to ease tensions so that Pakistan can divert troops and matériel from its border with India to its frontier with Afghanistan to fight Taliban insurgents.

Anti-India nationalists and militant networks in Pakistan, already dangerously potent, have seized on the issue as a new source of rage to perpetuate 60 years of antagonism.

Jamaat-u-Dawa, the charity wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group behind the Mumbai attacks, has retooled its public relations effort around the water dispute, where it was once focused almost entirely on land claims to Kashmir. Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat’s leader, now uses the dispute in his Friday sermons to whip up fresh hatreds.

With their populations rapidly expanding, water is critical to both nations. Pakistan contains the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system, water experts say. It has also become an increasingly fertile recruiting ground for militant groups, who play on a lack of opportunity and abundant anti-India sentiment. The rivers that traverse Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province and the heart of its agriculture industry, are the country’s lifeline, and the dispute over their use goes to the heart of its fears about its larger, stronger neighbor.

For India, the hydroprojects are vital to harnessing Himalayan water to fill in the serious energy shortfalls that crimp its economy. About 40 percent of India’s population is off the power grid, and lack of electricity has hampered industry. The Kishenganga project is a crucial part of India’s plans to close that gap.

The Indian project has been on the drawing board for decades, and it falls under a 50-year-old treaty that divides the Indus River and its tributaries between both countries. “The treaty worked well in the past, mostly because the Indians weren’t building anything,” said John Briscoe, an expert on South Asia’s water issues at Harvard University. “This is a completely different ballgame. Now there’s a whole battery of these hydroprojects.”

The treaty, the result of a decade of painstaking negotiation that ended in 1960, gave Pakistan 80 percent of the waters in the Indus River system, a ratio that nationalists in Pakistan often forget. India, the upriver nation, is permitted to use some of the water for farming, drinking and power generation, as long as it does not store too much.

While the Kishenganga dam is allowed under the treaty, the dispute is over how it should be built and the timely release of water. Pakistan contends that having the drainage at the very base of the dam will allow India to manipulate the water flow when it wants, for example, during a crucial period of a planting season.

“It makes Pakistan very vulnerable,” said a lawyer who has worked on past water cases for Pakistan. “You can’t just tell us, ‘Hey, you should trust us.’ We don’t. That’s why we have a treaty.”

India has rejected any suggestion that it has violated the treaty or tried to steal water. In a speech on June 13, India’s foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, called such allegations “breast-beating propaganda,” adding “the myth of water theft does not stand the test of rational scrutiny or reason.”

Water experts concur, but say Pakistan does have a legitimate cause for concern. The real issue is timing. If India chooses to fill its dams at a crucial time for Pakistan, it has the potential to ruin a crop. Mr. Briscoe estimates that if India builds all its planned projects, it could have the capacity of holding up about a month’s worth of river flow during Pakistan’s critical dry season, enough to wreck an entire planting season.

Here in Bandipore, where engineers and laborers work long shifts to build the powerhouse and tunnel for the long-awaited dam, the work is not merely a matter of electricity. National pride is at stake, they said.

“This dam is a matter of our national prestige,” one of the engineers on the project said. “It is our right to build this dam, and our future depends on it.”

Pakistanis say they have reason to be worried. In 1948, a year after Pakistan and India were established as states, an administrator in India shut off the water supply to a number of canals in Pakistani Punjab. Indian authorities later said it was a bureaucratic mix-up, but in Pakistan, the memory lingers.

“Once you’ve had a gun put to your head and it’s been cocked, you don’t forget it,” said the Pakistani lawyer, who asked that his name not be used because he was not part of the current legal team.

A genuine water shortage in Pakistan, and the country’s inability to store large quantities of water, has only made matters worse, exposing it to any small variation in rainfall or river flow. Pakistan is about to slip into a category of country the United Nations defines as “water scarce.”

“They are confronting a very serious water issue,” said a senior American official in Islamabad. “There’s a high amount of anxiety, and it’s not misplaced.”

The design of the dam requires that much of the water in the Kishenganga River be diverted for much of the year. That will kill off fish and harm the livelihoods of the people living in the Pakistan-administered side of Kashmir, Pakistani officials say.

Kaiser Bengali, an economist, argues that Pakistan’s water crisis has little to do with India, and says that the real way to ease it is to introduce water conservation methods and modern farming techniques. In a country where summer temperatures reach 120 degrees, as much as 40 percent of Pakistan’s water is lost before even reaching the roots of the plants, experts say.

The water dispute would not be nearly as acute, experts said, if India and Pakistan talked and shared data on water. Instead, the distrust and antagonism is such that bureaucrats have hoarded information, and are secretly gunning to finish projects on either side of the line of control in order to be the first to have an established fact on the ground.

“It’s like a bad marriage in which we have proscribed roles,” the Pakistani lawyer said. “Would it be better if we were communicating openly? Yes. But in the present circumstances we are not.”


Filed under India, Islamabad, Pakistan, strategy

48 responses to “Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension

  1. NSA

    Ahmad Rafay Alam’s article in the News is worth reading


  2. NSA


  3. Parvez

    Is India sharing their planning and design data with Pakistan?

  4. Girish

    As AZW points out and the article itself says, India has kept its part of the deal in this treaty over the last five decades. As the downriver country, there is nothing Pakistan can do in this treaty that can violate the treaty, so if the treaty has held for the last 50 years, it is entirely because India has scrupulously adhered to it, through wars, proxy wars and tense peace.

    Run of the river power projects are explicitly allowed in the Treaty and all the past projects and future projects are run of the river projects. These projects do not involve significant storage apart from what is needed for purely technical reasons (allowed under international law as well as the Indus Water Treaty specifically). Hence, these projects are completely consistent with the Indus Water Treaty.

    Pakistan has objected to each of the past projects. The Baglihar project went through a lengthy arbitration process, and the final judgement of the independent expert jointly appointed by India and Pakistan was that the project was consistent with the treaty with very minor technical changes. It is therefore nothing but obstructionism to object once again to another project which is very similar to the Baglihar project.

    This project will again go through the process of dispute resolution under the treaty. And it will again be approved, perhaps with minor changes but nothing more than that. The only thing achieved by the process will be a delay in the construction of the project, and a delay in getting power to more homes and businesses.

    This is a manufactured issue, and now latched on to by the extremist elements and terrorist organizations inside Pakistan, to fan the flames of hatred. If there are water shortages in Pakistan, it is because of natural reductions in flows as well as mismanagement inside Pakistan. Independent observers have agreed with the Indian position that it has nothing to do with reductions in water availability, if any.

    This issue is only going to become worse, due to global warming, a continued rapid increase in Pakistan’s population and continued mismanagement of available resources. This is not an issue unique to Pakistan, by the way. It is going to be a cause for greater internal conflict in India as well.

  5. Rajeev

    There is something to be said for jealousy. Inept Pakistan finds economically viable India building bridges, roads, dams on a massive scale. India, rather than waste time should ignore. Anyways, we know what is the future outcome – now that Kayani got his extension ; probably he wants to be a dictator, oops, I got it wrong — he wants to become “President”. Another war with India could be a good diversion. Ofcourse, he has other medals on his shoulder like orchestrating “Mumbai 26/11” under his leadership while working for ISI.

  6. lal

    “Once you’ve had a gun put to your head and it’s been cocked, you don’t forget it” 🙂

    …reminds me of many other issues.

  7. Hayyer

    “The Indian project has been on the drawing board for decades, and it falls under a 50-year-old treaty that divides the Indus River and its tributaries between both countries. “The treaty worked well in the past, mostly because the Indians weren’t building anything,” said John Briscoe, an expert on South Asia’s water issues at Harvard University.”

    This is the same Briscoe I think whose article figured on PTH some months ago and led to heated exchanges.
    Briscoe is wrong. The Indians took up the Salal dam in 1967 and completed it in 1987. They began Dul Hasti in 1987 and finished it in 2007. They completed the Uri project in 1996 and the Lower Jehlum project in 1977. Subsequently they built Baglihar and have a clutch of projects on the drawing board, for the Chenab mainly.

    Kishenganga does not deprive Pakistan of water. It just sends it to Muzzafarabad by a different route; directly throught the Jehlum rather than through the Neelam as Pakistan calls the Kishenganga.

    That will prevent Pakistan from taking up its own Neelam-Jehlum link project for power generation. The loss to Pakistan is potentially of power generation. Pakistan could have pre-empted India by building this link anytime in the last 50 years. India would then have been bound legally to not build its own project. India is allowed storage on the tributaries such as the Kishenganga.

    “It makes Pakistan very vulnerable,” said a lawyer who has worked on past water cases for Pakistan. “You can’t just tell us, ‘Hey, you should trust us.’ We don’t. That’s why we have a treaty.”

    Right, and that is why it is best to adhere to the treaty. There is a huge water shortage in Punjab and Haryana of India. Matters are being agitated at the Supreme Court but no solution is in sight. The Supreme Court judge Eradi even made an award which Punjab rejected saying that he was assuming water availability in the Ravi that did not exist. Nearly 30 decades ago I had a discussion with a retired Chief Engineer of the Punjab about its dispute with Haryana. He said to me ‘Paani hai kithe?’

    One keeps hearing the odd Pakistani remark that there is no recourse but to fight India. I can’t imagine sensible people in Pakistan supporting such hysteria.

    The water table in Punjab and Haryana is dropping by nearly 5 feet every year. Pretty soon it will be impossible to grow paddy with borewells. Rightly so too. It is absurd to grow rice in the Punjab or Haryana except in patches of water logging prone areas.

    One also hears that Pakistan wants the US to intervene. What can the US do? How do you think the GOI will persuade the states of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan from giving up a single drop. They are almost at each other throats as it is.

    “The real issue is timing. If India chooses to fill its dams at a crucial time for Pakistan, it has the potential to ruin a crop. Mr. Briscoe estimates that if India builds all its planned projects, it could have the capacity of holding up about a month’s worth of river flow during Pakistan’s critical dry season, enough to wreck an entire planting season.”

    The expert is wrong again and should taken off the consultants list. The treaty specifically permits a window in the calendar for filling dams allowed by the treaty. This is in August when the monsoon is at its strongest and water stress the lowest.

    Each time a dam undergoes its one time fill that month of water is lost to Pakistan for that river. It should not matter for the season because the Chenab fills storage dams downstream in Pakistan. Over the next 20 years if India builds, say, four more projects that is a four month water loss. over 20 years. Other projects like Dul Hasti or Pakal Dul dont require heading storage. So all the projects don’t deprive Pakistan of water even temporarily.

  8. Farukh Sarwar

    Both the countries must try their best to resolve this water issue, which might grow into another problem similar to Kashmir issue.

  9. Hayyer

    There is nothing to resolve. A problem is being imagined out of thin air. Disputes over the treaty are referred to arbitration. Pakistan has a water shortage India has a water shortage.

  10. harbir singh nain

    If pakistan is not satisfied with the IWT, why does it not move for a renegotiation?

    What is India expected to do? Just stop activities that the IWT allows?

  11. Tilsim

    @ Hayyer

    Thanks for your comment. I found it very informative. It’s important not to let emotions dominate this debate. Pakistanis seldom get to hear the Indian perspective on this issue.

    The core problem as you say is that there is a lack of water all round and no check on the population.

    There is a lack of trust all round. Even the provinces within each of our respective countries don’t trust each other. On the Pakistan side we have not built the Kala Bagh dam for the last several decades because the provinces cannot get to an agreement on this issue. Water wastage is also a huge issue where much more efforts need to be expended.

    There is certainly a danger of vested interests painting a one-sided picture to whip up emotions and to cover up their own failings on this matter.

    I hope wiser counsel prevails at governmental levels as it has done in the past even though matters went to arbitration.

  12. Bin Ismail

    Treaties are meant to be respected. Where need be, they can be revised with mutual consent. But they are not meant to be breached.

  13. Hayyer

    Bin Ismail:

    Precisely. What is the evidence that India has breached the treaty? Why do we keep hearing this war talk if there has been no breach. The campaign against India is either orchestrated by some parties in Pakistan for their own interests, or it is the result of thoughtlessness.

  14. Hayyer


    The Sindh is dead in Sindh because the water has been used upstream. It is a choice between having a riverine eco-system in the Sindh and a desert on both sides, or agriculture up stream and no river.

    Long ago, before Pakistan was created, and even before the British arrived there did prevail a smaller irrigation system of drawing water from the feeding rivers of the Sindh. It became public policy later to use the water for agriculture rather than let it run waste to the sea. The consequences are now with us.

    But there is also less rain these days, and population has increased. Punjab (0n both sides) needlessly grows paddy, the big consumer of water and sugar cane.

    Both the Punjabs should revert to growing Jowar Bajra and Maize in the Kharif season. There should be plenty of water then for everyone. Systems of rice intensification are being tried out in Indian Punjab but are yet to catch on. They consume rather less water but are very precise in its use, which is not always possible.

  15. ThanThanGopal

    “There is a huge water shortage in Punjab and Haryana of India. Matters are being agitated at the Supreme Court but no solution is in sight. The Supreme Court judge Eradi”

    Your arguments are similar to what Pakistanis routinely pepper us with as regards to terrorism: that we can understand that you guys are suffering from terrorism, but look we are suffering ourselves, and so we can’t do anything. In this case, however, we are hardly to blame. They say that the water/person has gone down from 5000 to 1000. What they don’t say that the population in both countries has increased over years. It’s time we zip up and stop breeding like rabbits.

  16. harbir singh nain

    So, thats your solution? Stop breeding like rabbits?

    What do we do during the next 50 years that the population will take to start declining?

  17. Majumdar

    Nain sb,

    The Hindoo has discovered water on the moon. Maybe time to emigrate…..


  18. harbir singh nain

    A beggar and his kid lying on the grounds of India gate one night and looking up at the stars. The father says, “You know, son, man has progressed so much, he has even reached the moon”. The kid says, “Does that mean that one day we’ll be begging on the moon?”

  19. harbir singh nain

    Anyway, that crack about the beggarliness of Indians apart, the simple fact of the matter is the coming decades are going to defined by squabbles over water.

    In an ideal future, India and pakistan would set aside their squabbles over kashmir and what not, and they would collaboratively develop a management of the indus river water system, i.e. optimize globally, not regionally. This will mean integrated electricity grids, integrated irrigation systems, and coordinated policies on agriculture (like discouraging rice in Punjab) and general economic development to reduce the reliance of people on farming on both sides.

    This is of course not going to happen. So we’re heading for more conflict, not less.

    India for its part has to consider what it would mean if China cut off the water supply. if it would spell disaster, India needs to start making nice with China. Of course that makes me feel sick because I can’t imagine that India has anything to offer china that it can give that would be worth enough to China to not choose to just keep the water instead, which means india would have to humiliate itself and hope for China’s goodwill. I imagine that pakistanis feel similarly about making nice with India over water.

    If India, china, pakistan, and bangladesh don’t want the coming decades to turn very ugly for everyone, they need to start redefining their relationships and their models of cooperation, and make whatever accommodations and compromises are necessary in order to work out a good water sharing program.

    If its everyman for himself, then the bigger you are, the better off you’ll be, and the smaller you are, the worse you’ll get your butt kicked.

    And China isn’t safe either just because its the biggest. If it and India get into a serious snit over water, india is sure to ally with whoever is on the other side of the fence from China. But that cannot be a good situation for India.

    And Pakistan isn’t going to help itself on water security without assuring India on its own security concerns.

    In short, there is a huge resetting of regional paradigms coming due. Either it happens and things will be good, or it doesn’t and they won’t.

  20. NAS

    Harbir Singh Nain’s last is on the money (or should we say, in the water?).

  21. stuka

    The water shortage is okay for Pakistanis. Those who are decendants of Arabs will survive in the desert. The impure descendants of Hindus will have a hard time. Oh well.

  22. AZW


    As a Pakistani, it is a disquieting thought to see the country drying up. With population set to triple in less than 50 years from now, I could see water becoming the most serious issue for the country.

    Yet, there is a treaty that governs the water use between the two countries. By and large, the treaty has been respected by both India and Pakistan, not a minor point in through this whole debate. The world some 50 years after signing that treaty is a lot different place now. Populations have increased; global warming has accelerated the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. There is less water for use per person. Margin of error has shrunk with the new water reality.

    But from all that I have read on this topic, I can’t blame India for our water problems. India has not stopped water once during the past 50 years during the peak agriculture season. India is not the reason why the population of West Pakistan shot up from 46 million to more than 160 million people. And the 40% conservative loss rate of water in Pakistan due to antiquated irrigation techniques and canal system is not India’s fault.

    What is also becoming clearer is that the treaty signed in 1960 needs a joint review by both India and Pakistan. The review is probably necessary not just because the water demands on both sides of the border have grown manifold, but also because in the absence of joint dialogue, fact sharing and common problem-solving approach, rhetoric based on fears and mutual doubts arrives. What the treaty may include going forward is to make the each country accountable for its own water use as well. India may choose to not take a voluntary step, thinking that a 50 year old treaty will suffice. But unfortunately in our countries, perception is everything. Perception is rather subjective, less prone to cold hard facts and more suspect to blood warming rhetoric. And next thing we know a generation passes away and the new generation is raised on a steady diet of vitriol and fears.

    I have nothing to do with any Pakistani who calls for Indian blood to be spilled if Pakistan goes thirsty. India has mostly abided by its share of the treaty, and creating hypothetical scenarios imagined by Haafiz Saeed and Hamid Guls would ensure that always the imaginary world, rather than the real world would dictate our behaviour. Mind you this is the same blood thirsty faction in Pakistani society that has created an Indian boogeyman to find an imaginary yet self-catastrophic rallying point for the Pakistani masses.

  23. AZW

    Another dispatch from the water dispute series that The Globe and Mail is currently running.


  24. Twilight_zone

    Nice post, though I would like to add that we have a rather resigned outlook about the whole issue. The whole thing is like a whack-a-mole game. I am sure if we do everything we can to bring the whole water issue to Pakistan’s satisfaction, there will be some fresh issue that would be dug out and this conspiracy thing recycled forever. I have complete faith in people like you. The question, however, is about how big is the constituency of people like you. Kayani got an extension that should have been vigorously criticized. Instead, apart from one or two commentators(Kamran Shafi most notably), rest of them have maintained a complete silence.

  25. Hayyer


    What is it that can be done to better manage the water shortage? We can be reasonably certain that it is going to get worse, for both our countries.
    I suggested earlier that rice cultivation be stopped in the Indus valley, based on tube well irrigation anyway. I don’t know how wide spread this is in Pakistan but in Haryana and Punjab the rice surpluses for domestic consumption come from tube wells. I can understand growing small amounts of Basmati for export but in India, Punjab and Haryana produce the bulk of the surplus foodgrains, not just wheat but also rice.

    The other solution is to create greater storage capacity upstream by storage dams, but that solution is not acceptable to Pakistan because of the trust factor.

    Pakistan has no idea of the water wars within India. They are stretching the limits of the country’s judicial system.

  26. rationalist

    Pakistan’s water problem is because of:

    1) Overpopulation, 2) India NOT having built dams on the eastern rivers earlier (before 40 years), 3) the pakistani tendency to find the guilt in others.

    If India had been allowed to build dams (Pakistan should have insisisted that India build many upstream dams) then a lot more water would have got retained upstreams and sickered, seeped, evaporated, flowed down to Pakistan during the past 30-35 years.

    Pakistan-ideology is basically a hate-india-devilize-india ideology. Rationality is the lost-and-gone factor. It is conspicuous only by its absense.

    Another pakistani factor is the “zaidhamidism” that grips (more or less) all pakistani minds – may be with only a few 100 exceptions.

  27. Girish


    What in the treaty would you like renegotiated? I am sure you recognize that if such a renegotiation happens, no party would give up anything it already has under the existing treaty. So you must have in mind some aspects of the treaty that are a lose-lose proposition, whose modification would lead to either both parties benefiting, or at least no loss to any of the parties. What, if any, are such provisions?


  28. Girish


    Quick question. How would building storage upstream enhance water availability in the downstream areas? My understanding is that the Indus runs almost dry by the time it reaches the Arabian Sea. Hence, all the water in the Indus system is being stored. Does storage upstream somehow reduce evaporation losses? Some other explanation?

  29. Hayyer


    Storage capacity has already been created to handle most of the flow-but not all.
    Every now and then there is more rain than the dams can handle. This leads to flooding in Pakistan. Even in Indian Punjab flooding on the Ravi and the Sutlej is not eliminated because despite the huge Bhakra Beas system flood waters have to be released which create flooding downstream.
    Pakistan has created storage on the rivers allotted to it on its territory. But more storage capacity is available upstream in the mountains of J&K in areas that are with India.

    If India had been allowed to create storage capacity without the right to consumptive use it could have lead to greater power generation as well as the prevention of flooding down stream in Pakistan.

    Of course this is no help to the lower riparian areas in Sindh if all the irrigation capacity is created in Punjab. Sindh loses not only the river’s ecosystem, it gets no water for agriculture. But that is a matter for Pakistan’s Federal Government or by inter state agreement, whatever arrangement Pakistan has to govern such matters.

    The river is not recoverable though. The Palla fish (the same as the Bengali Hilsa) will remain elusive.

    The Indus Valley needed a combined water management system that was fair to all forever. 60 years ago no one could foresee that arrangements made in the 1950s would be inadequate in 2010 or the climate changes that contribute to lower precipitation in the Himalya.

  30. rationalist

    to Girish

    Water management is a long-term project. Water storage in India (in whatever form) will sicker, seep, flow down or evaporate/blow down to West Panjab over decades and then from West Panjab to Sindh and so on. But Pakistanis were more interested (and still are) in conquering Kashmir through violence, agitationism, crocodile-tears over sufferings of Kashmiris etc. Pakistanis introduced violence into the Kashmir conflict in Oct. 1947 and again and again later (with India under the the Congress party retaliating in the typically weak-disunited-bumbling hindu way) and because of this 70 000 human lives and 50 billion dollars have been lost due to this Pakistani politics of fishing in troubled waters. (What to speak of the 15000 lives lost in East Panjab due to the pakistani support for Khalistani terrorism).

    Re-negotiating the IWT means first to rename it as Sindhu-basin Water Ecology and Peace Treaty (SWEPT) and make it clear that rain/snow water belongs first and foremost to the land where it falls and that everyone learns to live within his local resources, and does not covet what the other has, nor sends terrorists across the border.

  31. Bin Ismail

    @rationalist (July 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm)

    “…..with India under the the Congress party retaliating in the typically weak-disunited-bumbling hindu way…..Re-negotiating the IWT means first to rename it as Sindhu-basin Water Ecology and Peace Treaty (SWEPT)…..”

    How about renaming it :

    Sindhu-basin Water Ecology and Peace Treaty as Proposed by Rationalist to Reverse the Weak Disunited Bumbling Hindu Way (SWEPTPRRWDBHW).

  32. rationalist

    to bin ismail

    abbreviations should be short enough so that they don’t have to be re-shortened.

    why don’t you remark about the other sentences written by me in the earlier post (e.g. about 70000 plus 15000 dead in Kashmir and East Panjab due to the nont-so-covert pakistani-islamic aim of hurting non-muslims?

    I prefer that the hindu remains a bumbler. If the other religion (brought in by the arab and turkish imperialists) doesn’t let loose its fascism (that too in the name of a god), expansionism and terror on the hindus, then it is ok for hindu to be bumbler.

  33. lal


    nice that u have asked our friends…u vl get no response…it is not meant to be a sensible negotiating position..even the best of them want to whip up the passions….absolutely sorry if somebody proves me wrong.

    if for some reason pakistan was the upstream nation and india was at the recieving end,how long IWT would have stood?any guesses.

    raising water issue is just meant to stir up d muddy waters

    hayyer can xplain more or read his/her talks with pma in a previuos post

  34. Hayyer


    I omitted to explain that the dams India builds on the western rivers ( I would have called them northern rivers) are run of the river. They create what is called a heading capacity. That is, a head of water to drop water. Storage dams on the other hand are meant to hold water in times of surplus and release it when it is needed.
    India cannot build storage dams on the western rivers. Its dams existing and planned are heading dams. But once a run of the river dam is built that site is lost in the conceivable future for a storage dam.
    All is not lost though. India has planned a dam at Sawalkot, downstream of Baglihar and upstream of Salal (near Akhnur). It is a run of the river dam design-construction has not started so it is not too late to modify arrangements.

  35. Bin Ismail

    @ rationalist (July 29, 2010 at 6:55 pm)

    “…..abbreviations should be short enough so that they don’t have to be re-shortened…..”

    You proposed an expansion of the abbreviation IWT to SWEPT. I suggested an expansion from SWEPT to SWEPTPRRWDBHW. I suppose you’re right. Abbreviations should be short indeed. So, let’s stick to IWT.

  36. Hayyer


    The topography of the three western rivers is such that the effects of excessive rain will flood the plain in Pakistani Punjab.

    The Indus flows in Ladakh where the monsoon does not reach. Flooding in the Indus downstream is more likely to occur in Pakistan, as it has these days, as a result of rain in the tributaries that originate from its western tributaries. The two major tributaries of the Indus in Indian J&K are the Zanskar and the Shyok rivers which are very rarely monsoon affected-the Shyok probably never. The last time the Shyok caused a flood in Punjab was back in 1934 or 35. That was when the Siachen glacier had descended to block the Shyok. A lake built up over the years and when it became big enough it burst the ice dam causing flood related deaths as far away as Abottabad I believe.

    The Chenab course in Indian J&K is entirely mountainous. It descends onto the plain at Akhnur and within a few kilometres enters Pakistan. Flooding therefore is always in Pakistan not Jammu

    The Jehlum arises in the Kashmir valley. Kashmir catches the strong monsoon current every now and then and all its streams and nallahs rise up then not just the Jehlum. There is no scope for damming the Jehlum in the flat topography of the valley and it would do no good. The power projects there are mostly downstream in the mountains beyond Baramulla.

    In other words local flooding is no reason to build storage dams in Indian J&K.

  37. rationalist

    to bin ismail

    The IWT name is now passe, because ecology and peace are very much related to every river and its use. We know that better now than earlier and hence must take notice of that and include it in the new name. Furthermore Pakistan (as a quisling-state of arab imperialism) changed many british or hindu names (of places etc.) to arab names. Is it not more self-respecting to revert to the oldest name of this river – pre-greek also, since the iranians and greeks could not pronounce the word Sindhu properly? If there is a name older than the name Sindhu, I would welcome that name too. The afghani name Abasin of this river also came much later. It is obviously a reference to ab (=water) and sin(dhu) put together. Some have suggested ab to mean father – but that too is a later islamized-arabized addition resulting from islamic-arabic imperialism.

    Your arguments are always in the rut of typical islamic-arabic self-glorifying-and-history-falsifying upbringing. I hope you get over them soon.

    What about your comments on Pakistan initiating and causing so much violence and death in Kashmir since 1947? Why are you avoiding that topic in your responses?

  38. androidguy


    Ahha, you seem not to have graduated out of the 1990s when renaming everything and his uncle to local names was the fad. Changing the name to Sindhu, how does that gonna change anything on the ground? Mumbai has become far far worse than Bombay ever was, as a city. I don’t want to turn in my passport just to change its cover from Republic of India to Republic of whatever is the fancy name you come up with. I’ll stick to IWT, thanks.

  39. androidguy

    @Hayyer, your posts are a pleasure to read. Thanks.

  40. rationalist

    to androidguy

    Correct names are identity and genuine history. One reason why Pakistan has gone down the drain of religious and arab-centric fascism is because the falsification of identity and history was enforced top down.

    In the other post I asked the question: “Are degrees the only fake thing in Pakistan?” I hope you read that post too.

    If remembering pre-1990 or pre-1947 is bad then what about remembering some battle in 7th century Arabia which the muslims glorify even today and teach their children to emulate?

    The name Sindhu Water Ecology and Peace Treaty (SWEPT) sems to have swept you off your feetclay .

  41. rationalist

    “feet of clay”

  42. androidguy

    “..If remembering pre-1990 or pre-1947 is bad then what about remembering some battle in 7th century Arabia which the muslims glorify even today and teach their children to emulate?..”

    My brother in law just made his son & daughter sit and listen to a discourse on the Gita. I believe the battle of Kurukshestra occurred a wee little bit before the 7th Century;

    What is your point, and more importantly, why are you hijacking this post about management of water resources?

  43. rationalist

    Coming back to water resources – I had given some ideas on that too. You probably failed to read them. It was only bin ismail who answered with his typical religiously “funded” cynicism.

    Furthermore every problem in Pakistan (unfortunately) has its roots in Pakistan’s identity and history-writing and alien-religion-related problems. The water problem is (believe it or not) no exception. Otherwise it would have been Pakistan insisting on India to build dams instead of making an “India-is-our-eternal-enemy” psychosis out of everything. Pakistan is gifting away vast tracts of land to alien arabs and they will draw even larger quantities of water for their fun. But if India builds a dam then the shrieks of “Islam is in danger” reverberate across the land of the “pure”.

  44. Bin Ismail

    @ rationalist

    Apparently you have three demands, regarding the renaming of IWT:

    1. “…..abbreviations should be short enough so that they don’t have to be re-shortened …..”

    2. “…..ecology and peace are very much related to every river and its use. We know that better now than earlier and hence must take notice of that and include it in the new name…..”

    3. The name should not appear to be “resulting from islamic-arabic imperialism”.

    In compliance with your unrelenting demands on renaming IWT, may I propose “Ecology and Peace Treaty”, abbreviated as EPT and read as ‘ept’, which is even lighter on the tongue than ‘swept’. EPT is brief enough, caters to the needs of ecology and peace, and is pure of “Islamic-Arabic” influence.

    By the way, with reference to your fourth demand, “…If there is a name older than the name Sindhu, I would welcome that name too…”, could we consider the name used by the Neanderthals, if you don’t find that too recent? Incidentally, along the timeline, if I may ask, does your pseudonym “Rationalist” precede or follow the good name you were christened with?

    It is a comfort to note that not all Indians share your thinking. If there were more of you around, we could have considered INEPT instead of EPT.

  45. Bin Ismail

    @rationalist (August 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm)

    Exquisite poetry…..and of course prose.


  46. tilsim1

    @ Rationalist
    “we are all inept.
    mother earth has already wept
    over us
    und she will soon have us all swept.
    we (esp. muslims) are all so adept
    at being kafirs (= one who covers the truth).
    which promises have we kept?
    instead we crept
    back into our ideologies
    and hence
    we are all inePTH.”

    Thank you. That is your best post by far 🙂

  47. AZW

    Ahmad Rafay Alam, an environmental lawyer has written this excellent piece on the dacaying Pakistani public infrastructure combined with exploding population problem in the AfPak Channel.