Nehru’s First Himalayan Blunder: Tibet’s Erasure as a Nation:Blunder#33- 4
Nehru’s Second Himalayan Blunder: Indus Water Treaty (IWT): Blunder#50
Nehru’s Third Himalayan Blunder: India-China War : Blunder#35-6

“No armies with bombs and shellfire could devastate a land so thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting off the source of waters that keep the fields and people of Pakistan green .”
—David Lilienthal, former Chief, Tennessee Valley Authority, US

“The ‘Aqua Bomb’ is truly India’s most powerful weapon against Pakistan. As the upper riparian state, India can control the flow of the seven rivers that flow into the Indus Basin .”

In the India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty (IWT) of 1960 on sharing of waters from the six Indus-system rivers, Nehru gave away far, far more than what was adequate, miserably failing to envisage India’s future needs; and did not even leverage it to have the J&K dispute settled. As the upper riparian state, India could have called the shots, but Nehru, by unwisely agreeing to the World Bank (manipulated by the US and the West) mediation, surrendered all its advantages.{Swa6} India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty of 1960 has parallel with India-China Panchsheel agreement of 1954. Both had generous “give away” but no reciprocal “take” and both were thanks to Nehru!

Wrote Brahma Chellaney:
“Jawaharlal Nehru ignored the interests of Jammu and Kashmir and, to a lesser extent, Punjab when he signed the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, under which India bigheartedly agreed to the exclusive reservation of the largest three of the six Indus-system rivers for downstream Pakistan… In effect, India signed an extraordinary treaty indefinitely setting aside 80.52% of the Indus-system waters for Pakistan—the most generous water-sharing pact thus far in modern world history.                                                                                                                    “In fact, the volume of waters earmarked for Pakistan from India under the Indus treaty is more than 90 times greater than what the US is required to release for Mexico under the 1944 US-Mexico Water Treaty, which stipulates a minimum transboundary delivery of 1.85 billion cubic metres of the Colorado River waters yearly.
“Despite Clinton’s advocacy of a Teesta treaty, the fact is that the waters of the once-mighty Colorado River are siphoned by seven American states, leaving only a trickle for Mexico.
“India and Nehru did not envisage—you may call it a lack of foresight on their part—that water resources would come under serious strain due to developmental and population pressures. Today, as the bulk of the Indus system’s waters continue to flow to an adversarial Pakistan waging a war by terror, India’s own Indus basin, according to the 2030 Water Resources Group, is reeling under a massive 52% deficit between water supply and demand…
“Worse still, the Indus treaty has deprived Jammu and Kashmir of the only resource it has—water. The state’s three main rivers—the Chenab, the Jhelum (which boast the largest crossborder discharge of all the six Indus-system rivers) and the main Indus stream—have been reserved for Pakistan’s use, thereby promoting alienation and resentment in the Indian state.
“This led the Jammu and Kashmir state legislature to pass a bipartisan resolution in 2002 calling for a review and annulment of the Indus treaty. To help allay popular resentment in the state over the major electricity shortages that is hampering its development, the central government subsequently embarked on hydropower projects like Baglihar and Kishenganga. But Pakistan—as if to perpetuate the alienation in the Indian state—took the Baglihar project to a World Bank-appointed international neutral expert and Kishenganga to the International Court of Arbitration, which last year stayed all further work on the project…”

Perplexing thing is that Nehru could settle an international water issue like Indus Water Treaty, for it involved only a generous give-away on the part of India; but he failed to tackle India’s own internal river-water disputes like those relating to the sharing of Narmada water, or the Krishna- Kaveri dispute.

Share this post