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Water row: India to put facts before world

Days after Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed accused India of waging a water war on Pakistan,India says its planning to lay the facts before the international community and call Islamabad’s bluff over water-sharing....

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
March 11, 2010 1:19:08 am

Days after Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed accused India of waging a water war on Pakistan,India says its planning to lay the facts before the international community and call Islamabad’s bluff over water-sharing. Sources have told The Indian Express that it is “important to bring out the facts in the public domain”,and added,“we want to share this information with friendly countries”.

The water-sharing issue was raised during the recent Foreign Secretary-level talks on February 25 in which New Delhi had emphasised on resolving it within the 50-year-old Permanent Indus Commission — which was in effect even during the wars between the two countries in 1965 and 1971.

Even after 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,sources said the Indus water commissioners met twice in the last 15 months (in May 2009 and Feb 2010) and are planning to meet again by May 2010. There have been 103 meetings and 111 tours in the last five decades — averaging two meetings per year.

What has India concerned is that Pakistan’s establishment and political leaders began upping the ante only in the recent months — even putting it on the same level as the Kashmir issue — although New Delhi says it’s underutilising the water entitled to itself as per the treaty.

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According to New Delhi’s assessment,Pakistan’s water troubles are an outcome of its own “poor water management” although Indus,Jhelum and Chenab (rivers belonging to Pakistan) have four times more water than Ravi,Beas and Sutlej (rivers belonging to India).

There are two bases,according to sources,to establish this. First,Pakistan government’s documents,accessed by sources in New Delhi,show that about 20 per cent of water received from the six rivers are available as “surplus”. Secondly,about 28 per cent of water available from Pakistan’s rivers — Indus,Jhelum and Chenab — flow unchecked into the sea and are wasted. Going by these documents,Pakistan has not built enough water storage capacity and is,therefore,leaving surplus water go completely unutilised. This is,therefore,giving rise to water scarcity in the face of a rapidly growing population in Pakistan.

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