By Zaheerul Hassan
16th SAARC summit was held at Thimpu, capital of Bhutan from April 28 -29, 2010. People of the participant countries are looking towards their leaders for establishment of regional peace in this highly adverse security environment. They feel that future of their new generation has become highly insecure due to poverty, continuous deteriorating living environment, terrorism and major regional conflicts like territorial and water issues that has brought the region to the brink of a major disaster, the nuclear war. Let’s hope that this time our leaders find some solutions to resolve Kashmir issue, water issue, and Bangladesh border clash with India and Nepal Energy crises, Afghanistan problem and other bilateral matters for lessening our worries for the betterment of our future. Without resolving these major issues initiatives like ‘Aman Ki Asha’ nothing more than hypocrisy.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation mentioned in its report that rural poverty and food insecurity has been intensified and is showing downward trend all over the world. Developing countries within the Asia-Pacific region represent more than half of the world population. Today, a total of 3.7 billion out of 6.3 billion people in 2000, which continued to grow at 1.4% per year (1990-2000) and slowing down to 0.7% per year in 2020-2025 live in this region. The population in urban areas will increase from 37% to 51% during the same period. The report further reveals that majority of the worlds poor live in this region, about 829 million out of a world total of 1.2 billion, living on an average of just one dollar a day.
An alarming aspect of under discussion issue is that despite having maximum manpower, natural resources and all weather pieces of land, why Asian countries failed to bring Green Revolution. The answer is simple, the expansionist designs of India that does not allow its neighbours to settle down and concentrate inwards. New Delhi never realized that her wishful thinking of attaining supremacy and capturing natural resources is pushing the region into war. She has forgotten that hunger is the only factor which changes the human characteristics. It gave birth to the world terrorism too. Here, in the region, if we have the highest peak, the Mount Everest the poverty is also matching in the same dimension. Most of the governments in south Asian region cannot maintain even daily necessities of their nations. Pakistan and Bangladesh have been directly threatened by chocking their water resources; Bangladesh may not be able to react militarily but Pakistan can hit back and hit hard.
Nepal, with which India entered into an agreement to supply power if Nepal allowed her to build hydel projects over its rivers. After having built the projects, India has turned the power supplies off to further squeeze Nepal. Who can trust India? Only a fool or who has no option to walk away from her.
India has added a new dimension to the war philosophy by using water as an instrument of war. It is also worth mentioning here that India is the only country which is having conflicts with its bordering countries while all others in the world want peace at their borders. She is constructing more than 300 dams to interlink her rivers. Out of these 71 dams are being constructed in Indian Occupied Kashmir alone, which defiantly is provoking Pakistan. She has the intentions of converting her neighbours land into ruins and deserts through inundation and trickling of water. In this regard her actions speak that she is emerging as a “Water Terrorist” in the world. New Delhi has planned number of barrages and dames by violating international water pacts. Now, it’s the talk of the region that future war would be on water issue because none of the country will like to become barren as result of Water terrorism. Therefore, it is evident from the prevailing environment that if world community failed to control water grabber then insecurity of food would be the core issue of future Asia and would prove fatal for the world peace.
It is further emphasized that Agriculture sector is expected to continue to play the central role in achieving sustainable food security and poverty alleviation through increasing the food production, improving productivity and quality, expanding non-farm employment and enhancing trade and overall capital formation. But, the increase in capital is only possible if water resources shall be available to the countries. But unfortunately the major supporting element of future development revolves around Water. Unavailability or shortage of water might lead into environmental degradation, erosion of top soils, and depletion of soil fertility, pollution, starvation and low production of food.
The third word countries that are already suffering from depleted economies have to do something for their survival. The numbers of water issues of South Asian countries though have been taken up on various international fora but are still unresolved or pending due to disinclination attitude of India towards in execution of already concluded International Pacts.
Indus Basin Water Treaty between India and Pakistan 1960, Indo-Bangladesh water dispute over the Farakka Barrage (The Ganges Water Treaty) and the Indo-Nepal dispute over the Mahakali River are the glaring ones and endangering to the regional peace. It is notable here that India always used water as tool against Pakistan Nepal and Bangladesh. The Indian rulers exploit this natural resource through blocking the flow of rivers which originate from the Indian controlled territories and claiming their rights of using Nepalese Origin Rivers too.
It is also notable here that major water issue between two nuclear powers (India and Pakistan) is directly linked with the territorial dispute too. Pakistan and India have fought four wars over Kashmir. The sources three major rivers are located in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). India has started construction of dams and barrages over these rivers with the aim of destroying agriculture sector of Pakistan. According to the sources, India has also suggested Afghan government to construct dam over Kabul River which is the major water contributor to Indus. She has also offered her technical assistance to Afghanistan. Therefore it’s a proven fact now that India will never be our trust worthy friend because of her mean nature. Her only aim is to create instability, destruction of Pakistan. Her ingress in Afghanistan is again questionable. She is using Afghan soil for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have tried to resolve their water issue with India. These countries also used SAARC platform to settle these long outstanding issues but some how on one pretext or other New Delhi showed her unwillingness in resolving the issue. India straightaway refused to come on
SAARC forum while saying that water dispute will be solved with Bangladesh and Nepal through tri-partite dialogues. In fact India is not interested to resolve the issues at all and will keep on avoiding the situation. Same situation is prevailing between Pakistan and India over water problem.
The reluctance of India in resolving basic issues is further depleting the regional security. In his regard probably, the political and military leadership of India have either failed to comprehend the real threat or deliberately causing insecurity for the completion of their hegemonic design. The ruling party of India is trying to corner the lonely Islamic nuclear power without realizing that Pakistan can not afford anymore conventional war with India. She must know that Pakistani nuclear programme is though very safe but off course in strong hands too. According to A Q khan Pakistan Nuclear Programme is of latest version and has edge over Indian nuclear programme too.
Pakistan has sufficient nuclear arsenals too. Careful analysis of current political and security environment dictates that future nuclear war would be on water issue. India must know that Pakistan can go for nuclear strike first, since it’s the matter of her survival on the world map. To avoid this nuclear war, we have to establish, deliberate and redress the major water issues of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Present SAARC Summit is again providing the chance and forum our leaders to resolve the major regional issues