Pakistan’s claims & actions – Support to alleged freedom struggle – the real core reason – encouraging proxy war and incursions – the UN resolution – the Indus Water Treaty – and a pragmatic way to put an end to such conflicts
Quotations for consideration:
The British rulers of India never did really want to allow India its Independence. But when they realized that this was going to be inevitable, especially after World War-II, they sought to delay it for as long as possible. Mainly because India was a major source of revenue for their country and also because of the difficulty of repayment in the after war years, of the balance of payment that was many millions of Pounds in India’s favour due to its wartime contributions.
Their delaying tactic was to encourage and exacerbate all sort of divisions and then blame the Indians themselves for the indecision and thus seek justification to prolong their Rule and gain time to extract more revenues to help settle the dues.
The winds of conflict of Partition therefore began to blow across the Indian Sub Continent even before the Partition actually came into effect, on August 14/15, 1947. These winds fanned the embers of Political ambition and discontent of the Leaders into a conflagration that engulfed the peoples of, the soon to be two
Countries of India and Pakistan. This conflict, in some form or the other, continues to this day. (See annexures below for a better understanding of Pakistan’s perfidy and convoluted logic when it comes to J & K).
Over the decades since, the Indo-Pak conflict has claimed millions of lives, mainly in the carnage during the days around the Partition itself with its tragic massive population shift and also in the 3 Indo-Pak wars (1947-48, 1965 and 1971) and in the Kargil Military action (1999), in addition to those lives lost in the over three decades long proxy war of terror instigated, abetted and fought by Pakistan in J & K and other parts of India that continues even to this day.
The overtly stated reasons by Pakistan for such prolonged and bitter animosity are many, mostly reflecting religious and ideological underpinnings that when analyzed rationally do not hold up. These reasons generally turn out to be mere rhetoric and emotion without cogent foundations. Thus all attempts by India to understand and resolve the conflict based on such stated reasons by Pakistan are doomed to failure as they really do not address the fundamental core issue. We therefore need to step back from the immediate effects of this conflict and try to view the problem in its entirety, looking beyond and through the smoke screen of spurious and invalid reasons projected by Pakistan, and to identify and address the real root cause of this conflict and then find a way to put an end to it.
The Peoples of India and Pakistan are all really cousins having a common genetic, cultural and historical heritage and occupying parts of the single geographical unit of the Sub-continental mass called South Asia. The conflict between them thus has the mix of all the confusion, irrationality, hidden motives and emotion that are usually found as ingredients of such fratricidal conflicts especially when one of the Parties suffers from a complex refusing to accept its responsibility for its own shortcomings, that gives rise to a wholly self-oriented and manipulative attitude that positions itself as the suffering smaller party, a ‘younger brother’, more in need of support and thus seeks to take advantage of the more mature, empathetic and willingness to compromise attitude of the larger party, the ‘Big Brother’ and hence demanding greater magnanimity from it in the sharing of resources etc. Also adding to this confusion is the belief of many in the media and in the Government in India, especially those who were themselves displaced by the Partition, that the Partition was a temporary aberration caused by the ‘Divide & Rule’ process of the British and soon the two countries would see the advantages of being back together as a ‘Federation’, and thus their refusal to face reality.
Geography & Territory, Economics and Power, are generally the real under lying factors for any conflict. Geography of the land, it is said, has an over whelming influence on the life that inhabits it and dictates
its history and culture.
Even a cursory glance at the geographical features and spread of the territory of both the Countries across the common political border (that was drawn by the retreating British in 1947, without proper regard to the many implications and ramifications of such an act) immediately high light some very evident facts.
Disregard the political boundary and what you see is the mountains of the Himalayan region with its Kashmir Valley falling away South Westwards into the immense plains of Punjab.
You also see that the many rivers that originate in the Himalayan Mountains flow through the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh region (J & K State) and into Punjab. It is the waters from these rivers that make Punjab into one of the most fertile and important agricultural regions of the world. These rivers also have great potential for generating hydroelectric energy that could also boost the economy of the entire region.
Prior to Partition the entire INDUS river basin was treated as single unit and the irrigation system built then was developed as an integrated system. The political boundary drawn at Partition divided the land on political and religious grounds without reference to geography or ethnic or economic factors, and Pakistan found itself with a truncated irrigation system watering its most fertile and agriculturally and economically important region in West Punjab, all dependent on water coming from and through J & K.
It is to the credit of the then political leaders of Pakistan that they immediately recognized this vulnerability and hence, the utmost importance of incorporating J & K into Pakistan. Obviously they could not put this forward as the only reason and anyway it made better sense at that time to harp on the religious factor and claim that the muslim majority of the Kashmir Valley, excluding Ladakh & Jammu regions of the State, justified the whole of J & K State to be added to Pakistan especially as the very rationale of the Partition was religious.
The intractability of the then Maharaja of J & K, who was considering making his State as independent nation, led to Pakistan signing a “Stand Still Agreement” with him in an attempt to gain time while arranging to send in its irregular and regular forces into the State and seize control of the State, soon after formation of the two Nations, under the garb of an internal uprising.
In Dec 1947, Pakistan also entered into a ‘Standstill / status quo Agreement’ with India with reference to the INDUS waters, wherein India agreed to maintain the Pre-partition allocation of waters into the INDUS Basin. This Agreement was to be valid only up to 31-03-1948 as Pakistan expected to have taken over J & K by then. The resistance of the J & K State Forces gave the lie to Pakistan’s expectations and claims, and also allowed time for the J & K Maharaja to accede his State to India and ask it to send its Army to
beat back the invaders. (See Annexure-I)
Though defeated in this misadventure, Pakistan decided on a long term approach to somehow attain its objective and thus continued its efforts to claim J & K and hide its naked territorial aggression under the cloak of religion and ideology. Pakistan now refused to renew the INDUS Waters Stand Still Agreement in 1948 under some excuse or the other.
Initially India had responded very resolutely and shut off the Water supply into the Canals going into Pakistan, but political considerations and the naive hope that its goodwill would also result in reciprocal good will from the Pakistani side, led to India relaxing its stand and allowing Pakistan to get away with its ploy.
As Rajiv Dogra writes in his book “Where Borders Bleed” – India had an advantageous position over Pakistan at the time of the Partition.
It controlled the water life-line of Pakistan, the six rivers of the Indus system passed from Indian soil into Pakistan. Had India turned nasty, it could have squeezed that life-line at will. There were provocations enough to do so, but it choose not to follow that bullying path. Would Pakistan have acted in a similar fashion had the roles been reversed?
India also held the purse strings. The foreign exchange reserves were in its custody, and it reserved the right to apportion just the precise share to Pakistan at a time of its choosing. Therefore it could substantially affect the then economic stability of Pakistan by delaying the release of monies. Despite Pakistani’s antagonistic behaviour India was over generous giving out more than a fair share to Pakistan.
Nor was there any particular reason for India to have been so prompt in passing on to Pakistan its share of defence stores. A firmer India would have held back these supplies because Pakistan was then engaged in pushing its soldiers and tribals into Kashmir.
The question that then arises is whether India did well in acting so righteously. Should India have sacrificed its interests to so benefit Pakistan? Its generosity was interpreted as a sign of weakness, an act of appeasement, encouraging Pakistan to seek even greater and further concession on every separate occasion.
Over the years, such hope for reciprocal good will from Pakistan, which was expected to lead to a final settlement of the J & K issue, led India into being more magnanimous than it should have been in view of its own National interests. Such an attitude of appeasement and concession culminated in the lop sided and inequitable INDUS water Treaty that it signed with Pakistan in 1960. (See Annexure-II). Such good will gestures from India did not result in any lessening of Pakistan’s animosity towards India. In fact it only reinforced Pakistan’s attitude, as they felt that they could continue to so pressure India for further concessions. Such an attitude led to the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, the Kargil action of 1999, and the Proxy Terror war going on in J
K even as on this day.
It may be noted that it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto , as the then Water & Power Minister of Pakistan who worked with President Ayub Khan , to get USA & UK on its side and bully Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru into accepting such a Treaty. The same Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who in 1972, as then the Prime Minister of Pakistan was able to begile the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi into giving up the advantage of 93,000 POW’s and of the occupation of Pakistan’s territory and agreeing to go back to positions ante, in the Simla Agreement in 1972. Indian leaders have been found wanting in both situations. Pressure from UK and biased advice from its own Governor General and head of the Defence Committee Lord Louis Mountbatten and it’s then Military Chief, convinced Pandit Nehru to take the matter of Pakistan’s aggression into J&K to the United Nations, even against the strong objections of his Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel and the Indian Military Commander on the ground, Maj Gen. Cariappa . This resulted in an unfavourable cease fire and a UN Resolution that could never be implemented due to the intransigence of Pakistan.
The USA and the World Bank not only pressurized India to sign the INDUS Water Treaty of 1960, but also convinced it to grant £62 million to Pakistan in addition to the over US$ 1 bn that they themselves provided, to build extensive irrigation works. Works utilizing the extra share of water that should rightfully have been also used by India for development of Irrigation across J & K, which now also allowed Pakistan enough additional water for its infamous “Ichogal” Canal and its related defence works, all directed against India.
Even as Pakistan continues to lament that India is stealing its waters and hurting its development, its former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani claimed in the Financial Times in March 2010, they had a bumper wheat crop. “There is so much surplus that we have had to have new storage constructed for our strategic reserves.”
A few weeks later, its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asserted, “It (water) is not being stolen in India. It’s being wasted in Pakistan”.
This Treaty was also lop sided in that it accepted inequitable and restrictive clauses on works to be undertaken by India within its own territory, to use effectively even such disproportionately lesser quantity of water as allocated to it under the Treaty. Such inequitable Treaties, entered into for whatever extraneous reason, rightfully need to be redressed immediately on realization of the inequity and its adverse effects on our National interests. National Interest is always supreme and it is wrong of our politicians to continue to deny to the farmers and horticulturists of J & K, their rightful share of the water of the rivers that flow through their States and also wrong to deny to the people of J & K the benefits that would
accrue to them from the hydroelectric energy that can be derived from such rivers. Recognition of such benefits, and the prosperity that it would bring to all, will do more to remove all the confusion and tension in the local population than any amount of political rhetoric.
Even as the USA was forcing India to accept the Indus Water Treaty that involved such a huge sacrifice, the USA itself was extremely niggardly in its treatment of its lower riparian neighbour, Mexico.
When the rest of the world is busy protecting its water interests, why should India not do so too?
In view of all the above, it is time that India bought all such issues to the fore front and force Pakistan to a more equitable settlement under the threat of otherwise opting for a unilateral abrogation.
Treaties that are perceived to be against National interests, are internationally abrogated, at times even unilaterally (viz: The 1972 ABM Treaty between USA and USSR), though only after all attempts at renegotiation have failed. Renegotiation is acceptable (viz: The Indo-Nepal Treaty). Even within India we are seeing the claims of States to review river waters awards/allocations (viz: The Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and the Krishna waters dispute between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and many others).
The sanctity of any Treaty should not be above National interests, especially when the conditions under which the Treaty was entered into have undergone considerable change with time.
Such review is even more justified when the other Party does not meet the letter of, let alone the spirit of, it’s obligations, as Pakistan does not, under the Simla Agreement and even under the UN Resolution of 13 August 1948 which required it to first vacate all of POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) before India was even required to consider a Plebiscite (see details of the UN Resolutions in Annexure-III)
It is clear that a Plebiscite leading to J & K staying with India, or even opting to be Independent would not then have been, or even now be, acceptable to Pakistan. Not because of ideology or religion, but purely because it would deny Pakistan the control it seeks over the INDUS basin waters coming from rivers flowing mainly through J & K.
The J & K State Assembly had once pointed out that the State loses thousands of Crores of Rupees of revenue each year due to non utilization of these waters. In effect India is gifting this amount, as the value of the benefits it forgoes, to Pakistan and they in turn are reciprocating by exporting terrorism into India. On 3 rd March 2003 it also passed a unanimous resolution calling for an immediate review of this Treaty.
The current Indian stand suggesting a military response is too premature, especially in view of the Nuclear Capabilities of both Countries. War is the last resort of diplomacy, and military action calling on us to cross the border or LOC is to be resorted to only after
ALL other options have been exercised. The option of using and developing the means to control the flow of river waters into Pakistan, will not threaten the existence of Pakistan and is thus unlikely to trigger the response of an all out war.
As clearly shown in Annexure-II below, India has till date not even exercised all its options to use the Indus basin waters as it is entitled to under the Treaty. It is therefore necessary that India first consider the use of all such options available to it, before considering any Military option. Even the threat of the option of denying some of the INDUS waters to Pakistan has the advantage of shifting the theatre of conflict and hardship on the populace, from within Indian Territory as now, into Pakistani minds and territory without even a single Indian Soldier crossing the border or LOC.
Even if it is not feasible to immediately control and use our due share of the water that now flows into PAKISTAN or even if it is not considered politically expedient to immediately abrogate the INDUS water treaty, INDIA should begin to develop the capability to use its full share of the INDUS water supply and take advantage of its upper riparian status, as Turkey has done for its river waters.
We should learn from what Turkey has achieved by fully utilizing the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that flow through it. Its ‘GAP’ project now generates about 7500 Mega watts of hydro-electric power and irrigates millions of acres of farmland and over the years has succeeded in greatly developing not only the Anatolia region but also the entire country. This capability, of course, also gave Turkey what can be considered as on alarming degree of control over its downstream neighbour, Iraq.
We too should undertake such an integrated project that will not only bring about considerable development across the entire J & K, especially the Ladakh region, but also more importantly, compel Pakistan to expose the real reason for which it wants J & K. This would also shift the emphasis from intemperate terrorist and military action to the theatre of legal and technical wrangling wherein India could also drag the matter on, pending full and final settlement of the J & K issue on a more equitable basis as per international precedents. We will then be a position to make Pakistan understand that a more integrated, informed and equitable river water usage system, better ways to increase the overall storage capacity, including underground aquifers, and finally in also sharing in the hydro-electric power are all for its benefit too. In such circumstances, the alternative to friendly relations with India would, for Pakistan, not be worth contemplating.
Therefore it is now time for India to make a unilateral declaration, calling on Pakistan to renegotiate or modify the Treaty as provided under Article-XII, to bring it in line with internationally accepted rights of riparian States or, as a last resort to even
abrogate the 1960 INDUS Waters Treaty and till then, to only allow it the pre Partition levels of allocation of water, would be essential to make Pakistan realize the folly of its current stand and recognize the need to reach a settlement with India at the earliest and prevent its territories from being used to launch terror attacks in India.
Such an action by India may invite some criticism from the International Community but this is likely to be only proforma, in view of their own stand in similar situations and the evident rightness of our stand.
The US Attorney General, Mr. Harmond, a century ago stated, in connection with the USA – Mexico dispute over the waters of the Rio Grande River that “The Fundamental Principle of International Law is the Absolute Sovereignty of every Nation against all others, within its own Territory”. Turkey took a similar stand in the 1960’s. China today takes a similar stand.
Even in Europe, River water Treaties have been re-negotiated in recent times, so even European Countries would see the merits in such a stand by India.
This is the only right way, short of war, to inflict on Pakistan at least some measure of the economic hardship and loss that it has been causing India these past decades. It also has the advantage of not reciprocating in kind for the loss of lives due to terrorist actions in India. This would however, confront the Pakistani leadership with the necessity to find a settlement of all issues at the earliest.
Resolution of contentious issues and putting an end to conflict in today’s world requires us to explore and use all our options to ensure the paramountacy our own National interests. Our Politicians and our Parliament have again and again stated that the entire State of J & K including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the Aksai Chin region are an integral part of India but have done nothing to reclaim these regions.
It is the recognition of the interests of the people of J & K, and even of the rest of the Country that now require us to demand firm and resolute action in this regard from our Leaders and get them to take steps to reduce some of the hardship being borne by the citizens within India. At this time we also need to caution our Defence forces to be on watch against any short sighted military reaction by Pakistan and be prepared to deny them any intrusion into our Territory.
Of course any such military action or use of force initiated by Pakistan in Indian Territory across the border or even across the LOC, would bring down the entire weight of International opinion on Pakistan and would make it easier for us to react so as to further impose hardship against them by ensuring disruption of water supply to them. This will be more effective than any offensive military response from our side.
Finally, we need to inform and involve
the local population of all of J&K, and not just the elected leaders, in all that is proposed to be done so that they can then better understand the reasons for such actions and the benefits that they would then receive. This would not only help eradicate the suspicions built up over years of excluding them from the decision making process but also prevent any confusion arising from any misinformation that may be spread by Pakistan.
Recognize that the core issue of J & K is purely a water problem and religion has nothing to do with it. As all the rivers of West Punjab flow from Tibet through J & K and that is why Pakistan wants all of J & K. Their talk of Muslim brotherhood and support to a so-called freedom struggle is only obfuscating the issue.
We should now deal with the problem directly. For some reason or the other we have allowed Pakistan to get away with an Indus Water Treaty (1960) which is highly one sided in their favour.
We can now call for a review of this Treaty to make it more equitable or even unilaterally abrogate it and re-negotiate afresh, and at the same time build the capability to control the flow of the Rivers as necessary, and use the waters for power generation and irrigation for the benefit of J&K and also of the rest of India. We don’t need to stop the original water flow into Pakistan, we need only to have the capability to do so. As then, even the threat of doing so can be effective.
Circulate the letter of Maharaja Harisingh of J & K and the UN resolution of 1948 and all its parts, which clearly show that it was Pakistan that stood in the way of the Resolution and not India, and why it is now meaningless.
Under the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) scenario it is better to look at such alternatives and other economic force alternatives, than purely military ones. Show them the advantages of peace and trade with India for their own development.
ANNEXURE – I
Maharaja Hari Singh’s Letter to Lord Mountbatten
Text Of Letter Dated October 26, 1947 From Hari Singh, The Maharaja Of Jammu & Kashmir to Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India.
Dated: 26 October 1947
My dear Lord Mountbatten,
I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request immediate assistance of your Government.
As your Excellency is aware the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to the Dominion of India or to Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous to both the Dominions. It has vital economical and cultural links with both of them. Besides my State has a common boundary with the Soviet Republic and China. In their external relations the Dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.
I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede, or whether it is
not in the best interests of both the Dominions and my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both.
I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into Standstill Agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted this Agreement. The Dominion of India desired further discussions with representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated below. In fact the Pakistan Government are operating Post and Telegraph system inside the State.
Though we have got a Standstill Agreement with the Pakistan Government that Government permitted steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my State
Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes with modern weapons have been allowed to infiltrate into the State at first in Poonch and then in Sialkot and finally in mass area adjoining Hazara District on the Ramkot side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at the several points simultaneously, that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life and property and looting. The Mahora powerhouse which supplies the electric current to the whole of Srinagar has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer Capital of my Government, as first step to over-running the whole State.
The mass infiltration of tribesmen drawn from distant areas of the North-West Frontier coming regularly in motor trucks using Mansehra-Muzaffarabad Road and fully armed with up-to-date weapons cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the Provisional Government of the North-West Frontier Province and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated requests made by my Government no attempt has been made to check these raiders or stop them from coming into my State. The Pakistan Radio even put out a story that a Provisional Government had been set up in Kashmir. The people of my State both the Muslims and non-Muslims generally have taken no part at all.
With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my State and my people to free-booters. On this basis no civilized Government can exist or be maintained. This alternative I will never allow to happen as long as I am Ruler of the State and I have life to defend my country.
I am also to inform your Excellency’s Government that it is
my intention at once to set up an interim Government and ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.
If my State has to be saved, immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. Menon is fully aware of the situation and he will explain to you, if further explanation is needed.
In haste and with kind regards,
The Palace, Jammu yours sincerely,
26th October, 1947 Hari Singh
Reply from Lord Mountbatten to Maharaja Hari Singh
My dear Maharaja Sahib,
Your Highness’ letter dated 26 October 1947 has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P. Menon. In the circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.
Meanwhile, in response to Your Highness’ appeal for military aid, action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir, to help your own forces to defend your territory and to protect the lives, property, and honour of your people. My Government and I note with satisfaction that Your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form an interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.
Mountbatten of Burma
October 27, 1947
(Note: This reply clearly indicates the bias of Lord Mountbatten in favour of Pakistan when he brings in the question of the wishes of the people of the State when such a consideration was not a condition of the accession of other States into the Union of India).
Annexure – II
Understanding the Indus Water Treaty
With thanks to Rajiv Dogra for much of the facts given herein extracted from his book ‘Where Borders Bleed’, a must read for those interested in the history of Indo-Pak relations.
In July 1947 Cyril Radcliffe , who was charged with laying out the boundaries India and Pakistan, at the meeting of the Boundary Commission at Lahore, had suggested that both Countries should jointly manage the Indus basin’s vast network of canals that ran through Punjab.
Md. Ali Jinnah immediately reacted by saying that – “… he would rather have deserts in Pakistan than fertile fields watered by courtesy of the Hindus”.
Jawaharlal Nehru responded that – “what India did with India’s rivers was India’s affair”.
After partition, Pakistan last no time in reversing its stand and sought a “Standstill” agreement with India on the issue up to end March 1948. We now know that they did so with full confidence that they would have taken over J&K by
then and thus the Agreement would not be necessary thereafter.
Pandit Nehru , under pressure from his own Governor General and head of India’s Defence Committee Lord Louis Mountbatten , the UK and the USA, also reversed his earlier principled stand and entered into this Agreement.
The only all weather road into J&K was now in Pakistani territory and Pakistan taking advantage of this circumstance and of the approaching winter, began from Sept. 1947, to starve J&K of essential supplies of food and fuel etc. Then on 22 Oct. 1947, it sent in over 250 trucks carrying Pakistani soldiers into J&K, expecting to take over Srinagar and thus J&K within 4 days.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, its aggression into J&K only expedited the accession of J&K to India when Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K signed the instrument of accession on 26 th Oct 1947, and thereafter the conflict become that between Pakistani and the Indian forces air lifted into Srinagar from 27 th Oct 1947 onwards.
At the end of the ‘Standstill’ Agreement, on 1 st April 1947, India shut down the flow of waters into the canals flowing into Pakistan. However, once again, in response to the multiple entreaties from Pakistan and pressure from the UK and the USA, and as a gesture of good will, and hoping for reciprocal good will from Pakistan, India soon restored the supply, even as the conflict continued in J&K.
Once the water supply was restored, Pakistan returned to its obstructionist policy. It objects to any works in India to improve its irrigation and power generation on the filmiest of reasons. Even India’s proposal to build the Rajasthan canal was objected to. Thereafter, when calls to take the matter of Indus waters to the UN or to submit it to the arbitration of a third party were initially not accepted by India, because as Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru then stated – “If third parties intervene, even though the intervention proceeds from good will… the aggressor country and the country against whom aggression has taken place are put on the same level, both pleading before that third party”. It soon managed to get the USA to further pressurize India to accept International adjudication.
The Indus Water Treaty:
To help Pakistan, an ally in the SEATO and CENTO groupings, USA worked with the World Bank negotiator, Sir William Iliff , to come up with the Indus Water Treat of 1960. This Treaty was, and remains, extremely one sided favouring Pakistan. The USA and allies, taking advantage of India’s then worsening financial circumstances and food supply situation, exerted immense pressure on India to not only accept this Treaty with an attitude of magnanimity to a smaller neighbour but to also agree to payout £62 milion to Pakistan even as Pakistan continued to deny India its rights to take up works over the waters that flow through its own territory. The USA also arranged for over US $ 1 billion worth of aid to Pakistan to construct dams
“Pakistan’s approach was tantamount to asking for the moon” – wrote its President Ayub Khan in his book “Friends not Master” and they got it.
India has also not even collected the deposit, that was to be specified by the Indian Prime Minister, from Pakistan for allowing the flow of water to Pakistan through the Central Bari Doab and Depalpur canals.
The Indus Water Treaty suffers from several major flaws that work against India and in favour of Pakistan. Perhaps Zulfikari Ali Bhutto , then Pakistani’s Water & power Minister, should be recognized as the one, who with the help of USA was able to get such major concessions from Pandit Nehru in 1960 under the Indus Water Treaty, as he did again in 1972 from the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi under the Simla Agreement.
The Indus Water Treaty divided the rivers of the Indus basin without taking the volume of waters into account. The Eastern rivers (the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi) carry much less water than the Western rivers (the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum). Thus allowing only about 20% of the water to India and about 80% to Pakistan. The Treaty did not consider and allow for the fact that at that time the population of India was more than 7 times that of Pakistan.
The Treaty also gave Pakistan undue say in the utilization of India’s share of the waters in India’s Territory.
India on its part, has also failed to properly utilize even such facilities as have been allowed to it under this Treaty.
India has also never taken advantage of its upper riparian status to shut down the flows it could even during the 1965, 1971 & 1999 conflicts. India not only did not object to any of the Dam and Canal works undertaken by Pakistan, it did not even object to the construction by China of a major dam in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir territory.
Has such generosity and magnanimity towards Pakistan earned India any good will there, or has all of it been viewed by Pakistan as signs of weakness or appeasement to be continually taken advantage of? Would Pakistan, if in India’s place, have acted similarly? The answer can be gathered from Pakistani’s actions;
India should now seriously consider as to why and for how long, it should allow matters to continue in this manner. Why it should not refuse to consider such unreasonable objections and constraints on its Projects and why it should not demand due compensation for the costs and delays caused by Pakistan on India’s Projects?
In fact, India is well within its rights to call for a comprehensive review of such an inequitable Indus Water Treaty. It could also totally abrogate the same and even do so unilaterally.
Despite efforts by the UN and other International bodies, the world has yet to come up with an acceptable formula of how waters should be divided / shared when a river flows through two or more States.
The 1997 UN convention on this issue came close, but was not accepted by China, Turkey and Burundi. China and many countries of Central Asia and many other upper riparian States have National laws declaring absolute sovereignty over their waters, thus putting National assertion in direct conflict with any international understanding on sharing of waters equitably. This lack of a agreed international law is one major reason why nearly 300 rivers, including the Danube, the Nile, the Colorado and the Rio Grande, are all subject to major disputes between Nations.
Turkey reneged unilaterally on all its ancient and even later agreements on the flow of waters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers into Syria and Iraq. In the 1960’s it decided to build 22 high dams and 19 hydro electric plants on these rivers to irrigate 1.7 million hectares of farm land and generate 27 billion Kwh of electricity for its people. These works transformed Turkey and contributed significantly to its economic development and prosperity. These projects substantially reduced the flow of water into Syria and Iraq, but Turkey claimed sovereign and primary rights on waters within its territory and accorded primacy to the needs of its own people.
Only 4 out of the 57 transnational rivers in Asia have treaties for sharing the waters. (Mekong, Jordan, Ganges and Indus). Thus two of the four have been signed by India. The Indus water treaty is the most generous agreement ever in history signed by any upper riparian state.
ANNEXURE – III
PAKISTAN’s Aggression into J & K, in 1947, after the Accession of the State to India & the UN Resolutions thereafter.
Pakistan has always claimed that even prior to Independence a “sinister design” had been worked out by India to secure the accession of J & K. The charge stands refuted not only by the assertion of Lord Mountbatten in “Time to Look Forward: Mountbatten speaks” but also by
the un- ambiguous statement of the Three Service Chiefs of India who were all British, namely General R.M. Lockhart, Air Marshal T.W. Elmhirst and Rear Admiral J.T.S. Hall . In a joint statement they said” on 24 October (1947) the Commander -in-Chief, Indian Army received information that ‘tribesmen’ had seized Muzaffarabad. This was the first indication of the raid. Prior to this date, no plans of any sort for sending Indian Forces into Kashmir had been formulated or even considered.” —- “Dangers in Kashmir” by Joseph Korbel .
On 01st January 1948 India took the case to the UN. The UN subsequently passed 4 resolutions on Kashmir.
The First, of January 1948, merely urged the two Governments to take measures to improve the situation.
The Second, of 17th April 1948, recommended the setting up of a 5 Member Commission “to proceed to the Sub-Continent and there place their good Offices and mediation at the disposal of the Governments of India and Pakistan”.
The Third, of 13th August 1948, was the most significant. This resolution was in 3 parts:
Part I – related to the call for simultaneous order from both Countries for a cease-fire order at the earliest possible date, agree not to augment Forces in J & K and accept the appointment of UN Military Observers to supervise the same etc.
Part II – laid down 2 issues in a Truce Agreement;
a) Which made it incumbent upon Pakistan to withdraw all its Forces, regular and irregular including tribesmen and other Pakistani Nationals from the State of J & K.
b) And that once the Government of India has been notified by the U.N. Commission that all the Pakistani Forces / Nationals as mentioned above have been withdrawn from J & K, then India would reduce the strength of its Forces in J & K to the minimum considered necessary to maintain the cease fire and peace in J & K.
Part III- Then and only then does this part of the resolution call on the Governments of both Pakistan and India to enter into consultations with the U.N. Commission on the method to ascertain the will of the people of the State under fair and equitable conditions.
The 4th resolution was merely a supplement to the 3rd.
The subsequent rightful stand of the Government of India was that the question of taking up of Part-III would arise only after the provisions of Part I and Part II would be carried out.
In this regard, it also needs to be noted that before India agreed to “Cease fire” with effect from 01st January 1949, some assurances were given to it during the course of discussions and correspondence with the U.N Commission for India and Pakistan.
The last of such assurances clearly states that “the plebiscite shall not be binding upon India if Pakistan does not implement Part I and II of the Resolution dated 13th August 1948”.
When today Pakistan accuses India of not implementing the U.N Resolution, it
is clearly making a false accusation as its occupation of POK even today makes evident that it was only Pakistan that did not implement U.N Resolutions and thus did not allow India to do so. It is therefore only rightly that the U.N has since declared the Resolutions as not having any validity today.
– JAI HIND! –