Pak-India water dispute and the US

WITH India flouting the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with immunity, the United States has made a welcome move by asking both Pakistan and India to resolve their differences through dialogue. State Department spokesman said at the news briefing on Wednesday that the IWT has served as a model for peaceful cooperation between India and Pakistan for 50 years and that his country encourages both the parties to sort out their differences.
It is encouraging that US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, affording an opportunity to the latter to put across Pakistan’s point of view on water dispute with India, which is building around three dozen reservoirs with ultimate objective of choking Pakistan’s share of water under the World Bank-brokered treaty. But it would be more important if Washington conveys the same and in plain words to New Delhi as well what the spokesman explained at the briefing. Pakistan is not opposed to talks and in fact it has been taking up relevant issues at the forum of Indus Basin Commissioners, a mechanism envisaged in the treaty itself. However, history tells us that India several times violated its obligations under the Treaty and never informed Pakistan of raising new structures on rivers flowing from Occupied Kashmir. Not to speak of water reservoirs being constructed in violation of the Treaty, India has not been communicating even the crucial data about river flows during monsoon season, which often results into flash flooding in Pakistan. It may be pointed out that earlier the World Bank President also asked the two countries to initiate the process to resolve their difference and save the Treaty, which has served for decades. Unfortunately there is no positive response from the Indian side, which is a clear indication that, as always, it wants to buy time so that the reservoirs being built reach to an advance stage of completion. Interest being shown by the World Bank and the US is an indication that the world community is having an understanding of serious nature of the problem and wants its resolution through peaceful means at the earliest. Pakistan should continue its diplomatic efforts of keeping members of the international community abreast of India’s designs and plans.

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