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John Daly

John Daly

Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European…

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Pakistani Editorial Says Nuclear War with India "Inevitable" as Water Dispute Continues

Every now and again, one reads an editorial that stops the reader in his tracks.

On 8 December, with the headline "War Inevitable To Tackle Indian Water Aggression," Pakistan’s Urdu-language Nawa-e Waqt, issued such a screed.

Nawa-e Waqt bluntly commented on India’s Kashmiri water polices and Islamabad’s failure up to now to stop New Delhi’s efforts to construct hydroelectric dams in Kashmir, “India should be forcibly prevented from constructing these dams. If it fails to constrain itself, we should not hesitate in launching nuclear war because there is no solution except this.”

Potential nuclear war over water rights – such sentiments ought to light up switchboards from New Delhi to Washington.

Needless to say, the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers is cause for concern.

Nawa-e Waqt is a privately owned, widely read conservative Pakistani Islamic daily with a circulation around 125,000 and is heavily critical of the U.S. and India. To put Nawa-e Waqt’s circulation in context, consider that the conservative Washington Times has a current estimated circulation of 50,000.

So, what has the editorial board of the Nawa-e Waqt so excited?

Indian dam building in the disputed area of Kashmir. Compared with much of South Asia, Kashmir has many rivers and relatively few people.

Bashir Ahmad, a geologist in Srinagar, Kashmir commented grimly about the Indians’ future intentions, “They will switch the Indus off to make Pakistan solely dependent on India. It’s going to be a water bomb.” A more dispassionate report by America’s Senate last February offered still a similar assessment, noting, “The cumulative effect of (the dam) projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit the supply to Pakistan at crucial moments in the growing season” before concluding that dams are a source of “significant bilateral tension.”

How many dams and hydroelectric reports? The Senate report counted 33 hydroelectric projects in the border area, a number that Pakistani analysts nearly double to 60, which according to the state’s chief minister, Omar Abdullah, will add an extra 3,000 megawatts to the national power grid by 2019.

Pakistan’s vulnerability is underwritten by the fact that, like Egypt it exists around a single great river, although the Indus is nearly twice the Nile’s size when it reaches the sea. The Indus provides water to over 80 percent of Pakistan’s 54 million acres of irrigated land, via a canal system largely built by the British.

A further potential diplomatic tar-pit is that Afghanistan plans to build 12 dams on the Kabul river with a combined storage capacity of 4.7 million acre-feet, which Pakistan frets will further diminish the Indus water supply, quite aside from the fact that Indian support for these dams will increase India's hydro-influence in the region.

The Kabul River Basin (KRB) is the most important river basin in Afghanistan and contains half the country's urban population, including the city of Kabul. While New Delhi has not directly confirmed its support for the facilities, the proposed hydroelectric projects represent one of India’s largest assistance interests, with $1.3 billion invested in infrastructure projects.

So, is there any way out before the missiles fly?


The 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India and Pakistan can not only assist in easing tension, but provide a template for developing an Afghan-Pakistani agreement on the Kabul river. The treaty, which has survived three wars, explicitly outlines how both India and Pakistan can use cross-border rivers and deals in particular with the tributaries flowing from Kashmir to form the Indus.
The IWT is considered one of the world's most successful trans-boundary water treaties, as it addresses specific water allocation issues and provides unique design requirements for run-of-the-river dams, which ensure the steady flow of water and guarantee power generation through hydro-electricity. The IWT also provides a mechanism for consultation and arbitration should questions, disagreements, or disputes arise.

All foreign governments interested in avoiding further military conflict in South Asia should impress upon both New Delhi and Islamabad the ongoing value of their 51 year-old water agreement and urge them to resolve their conflicts within its framework.

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

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  • abubaqar on December 09 2011 said:
    true to form the hindu indians have been trying to cut of water supplies and dumping heavy metal toxic waste into pakistans water supply as recorded at the U.N where complaints have been made and again true to form due to pakistan being a muslim nation nothing has been done by anyone!!!
  • Greg on December 09 2011 said:
    If ever there was a real chance for a NUCLEAR war between them the whole world would be all over them to take their nukes away.
  • the seer on December 09 2011 said:
    no nuclear war , they should both give up their nukes immediately
  • Hunza on December 09 2011 said:
    I bird has just whispered in my ear that something is in the court. But as the saying goes, justice is not a privilege for a grieved party when it is poor. In order to seek justice, it is imperative to use the right cologn which the Big Brother prefers -- accept the hagemoney in the region. In such a situation, it is hard to opt for sanity and the only option left is the war. OK...I am ready for a nuclear war. If I have to end up without water why not to use the damn thing that I own. At least I can rest in peace in the eternal world. In urdu as the saying goes, "hum tu dubay hen sanum tum ko bhi lay dubain gey"
  • mothman777 on December 09 2011 said:
    Why should the insane governments of these countries decide on such provocative and barbaric treatment of the peoples of each other's countries. They are not fit to be in power and the people should remove them from office. Nuclear war instead of merely sharing a little water is nothing other than some nihilistic maniacs deciding to precipitate a situation that is nothing less than suicide. If the leadership want to commit suicide then they should merely take their own lives and not those of everyone else. The people should instal leaders who are at least capable of seeing a little more than this in the purpose of human existence. Hare Krishna
  • Vasan on December 09 2011 said:
    Dear friends on both sides of the border,It is fool hardy to think of such misadventures. In the worst case scenario, both countries would suffer for many decades just trying to rebuild what ever is left. The chances are that Pakistan would be hit harder due to its inadequate strategic depth and size. As some of the people in India claim, India would be able to absorb the strike but Pakistan would vanish as a country with the retaliatory stike. So let us resolve issues through civilised behaviour. What are international arbitration facilitators are for??Let peace prevail.
  • Ed Stratford on December 09 2011 said:
    Amen to that. You can bet the US is stirring both sides. Why doesn't Obama just jump in the ring with Putin? They can punch shit out of eachother for as long as they like if they think conflict is such a good idea. What about the Queen? We could lock her up with a few million of the worlds poverty stricken mothers to explain why she needs billions while they watch their babies starve.
  • Eddy on December 10 2011 said:
    Predictably, folks can't see the wood for the trees, and pillory Pakistan once again. Amazing how blind people can be when they CHOOSE not to see.I wonder what their responses would be, if it were THEIR water resources that were under threat ?Interesting too, that Australia has chosen to supply India with yellow cake which will more then likely, end up in the nukes Pakistan is worried about.Clearly, that would put Australia dead centre on a target map of Pakistan's, well deservedly too, I should say.The time is fast approaching when Pakistan needs to decide where it's futire lies, whether in bed with the U.S (A very dangerous game indeed for them) or develop a backbone for a change, and stand on it's own two feet.
  • Cheran on December 10 2011 said:
    This is my wild speculation...Before India embarks on any of the pipeline projects Iran-Pak-India (IPI) or TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) with Pakistan, it wants to have a countermeasures to ensure that Pakistan does not arbitrarily turns off the gas...You turn off gas, then I turn off water...Possible, right?
  • Fred Banks on December 10 2011 said:
    Inevitable? That is what I heard almost every week in my regiment in Japan about the US and Russia. By the time I moved to Germany however, the movers and shakers knew the score and backed away from that nonsense.When I think of India and Pakistan, I think of a day in Stockholm when several Pakistani friends were smiling and pointing to the page of a newspaper on which their was a story about the success of an Indian tennis player. On that day he was one of them, and the enemy was...someone somewhere else in the world.
  • Sirus Shaikh on December 11 2011 said:
    why take the nukes from India and or Pakistan. why not take it from the US of A and Russia. living in dubai with many indian friends what i feel is that this is all political. the normal citizens on both side dont want this conflict. what happened in the past happened and we should move on and build a better Asia is what we all feel. Kashimir can be a neutral area controlled. why cant both the governments invest together for a better future instead of building WMDz.
  • Sirus Shaikh on December 11 2011 said:
    i checked the complete paper and was not able to find the headline which says nuke war inevitable on the December 8 2011 paper of nawa-e-waqat. can anyone point to the news ???
  • Surender Mohan Sharma on January 16 2013 said:
    Can't while people of both India and Pakistan are more than 90% common in their ethical and moral core basic religious values and social, moral, eating and dressing and physical structure much contrary to Western society, why both countries should not re-integrate and become one grand nation so that with inherent rich potential of rich soils, rivers, minerals,climate, etc. etc. both countries joined together will surely world's richest and most prosperous people. LET NOT INDIAN AND PAKISTAN BECOME A MARKET OF MASS AND DEADLY WEAPONRY OF WEST AND SERVE THEIR ECONOMY. Since past cannot be undone, today and future MUST be taken care of without risking a single human life.
  • Swabhiman on June 19 2014 said:
    There is a big question mark on Pakistan existing in present shape in near future.The water treaties would be renegotiated with new states. Present amputated pak is hurtling towards failure. India has not done anything to violate water treaty between two countries and Indian stand has been vindicated by the International Court of Justice. USSR disintegrated in spite of its nuclear stockpile, so what gives confidence to your thinkers that pak would be in a shape to wage nuclear war against India

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