Islamabad, July 28 — India’s plan to build 60 hydroelectric power projects on the Chenab river basin is giving nightmares to Pakistan, a daily said Sunday.
Pakistan is on the brink of being water insecure. “This scarcity is choking to death the country’s agricultural output, and so it has every reason to be worried about India’s intentions,” the News International said in an editorial.
According to the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan was given control of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers but India was allowed to use them for irrigation and power generation, as long as it did not deprive Pakistan of its rightful share.
The daily said that though a single power project does not have the capacity to store enough water to deny Pakistan its rightful supply, “India will soon reach the stage where it has enough dams to seriously affect our water supply should it choose to do so”.
“Were the two countries ever to engage in hostilities, that is exactly what India would do,” the daily said.
The two countries have also to deal with climate change.
As shrinking glaciers will reduce the flow of rivers – by as much as 10 percent in the next 30 years – India and Pakistan “are likely to fight even harder for access to it”.
The daily alleged that India has an advantage as “most of its power generation projects are constructed without first carrying out any kind of environmental impact assessment”.
“There seems even less willingness to negotiate and compromise, especially from the Indian side,” the daily said.