Water wars be­tween In­dia, Pak­istan and Bangladesh have ham­pered the peace process and have also hinted ed at the grave is­sue of water scarcity that se­verely plagues the re­gion.

Southasia - - Cover story water politics - By Si­jal Fawad

The South Asian re­gion is one of the most densely pop­u­lated in the world, and water needs for the huge pop­u­la­tions in ma­jor coun­tries are equally large. Sit­ting at the pin­na­cle of water shar­ing and water man­age­ment is­sues are the trio of In­dia, Pak­istan and Bangladesh; the lat­ter two hav­ing had some se­ri­ous dis­putes with the former.

Any cit­i­zen of Pak­istan will read­ily tes­tify to the an­tag­o­nis­tic feel­ings held against their In­dian coun­ter­parts. The fact is that be­sides par­ti­tion-re­lated his­tor­i­cal en­mity, water dis­putes have added to the tur­bu­lence in diplo­matic ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Ear­lier lead­ers of the two na­tions had an­tic­i­pated an­i­mos­ity over water and there­fore the In­dus Water Treaty was signed in 1960, de­lin­eat­ing con­trol over rivers in the re­gion, as well as prin­ci­ples of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two. Un­der this treaty, con­trol over the east­ern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sut­lej – was given to In­dia, while west­ern rivers – In­dus, Jhelum and Chenab – were un­der the con­trol of Pak­istan. The catch, how­ever, is that the source of all rivers, in­clud­ing the ones over which Pak­istan has con­trol, is In­dia, giv­ing Pak­istan rea­son to ar­gue that In­dia’s up­stream dams and projects

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