Pakistan and India seem unable to resolve the Indus Water Treaty dispute bilaterally. Tensions between the two nuclear neighbors regarding the water conflict pose a global threat and could bring dramatic consequences. While the World Bank is urging Pakistan and India to resolve the dispute on their own, the water conflict is slowly turning into a global disaster.
Last week, Pakistan declared that it won’t accept any modifications to the treaty after India said it was ready to resolve its differences with its neighbor. Islamabad accuses New Delhi of just trying to buy time and says its nuclear-powered neighbor is trying to change the treaty, which was signed in 1960, to suit its domestic political agenda.
The Indus Water Treaty allows India to control the three eastern rivers of the Indus Basin, while Pakistan controls the three western rivers, including the Indus River.
Despite the World Bank’s call to resolve the issue bilaterally, Pakistan and India continue to escalate the conflict. The international community, meanwhile, shows little to no interest in the water conflict between the two nuclear neighbors. That’s a huge mistake because the India vs. Pakistan water conflict poses a global threat. New Delhi and Islamabad continue to stick to their guns, which could eventually lead to the use of real guns and unleashing a war.
Last Friday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi told Dawn, “Pakistan will not accept any modifications or changes to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. Our position is based on the principles enshrined in the treaty. And the treaty must be honored in…letter and spirit.”
Indian officials believe the World Bank-brokered treaty shouldn’t have been signed in the first place because Pakistan controls more water than India as a result of the 1960 treaty. Islamabad has long feared that its nuclear-powered neighbor is trying to revoke the treaty to suit its domestic political agenda. Revoking it would present dangerous consequences for the region and the world as a whole.