Spotlight on Indus River Diplomacy: India, Pakistan, and the Baglihar Dam Dispute
ASIA-PACIFIC CENTER FOR SECURITY STUDIES HONOLULU HI
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India is moving steadily closer to a danger zone in terms of water supply. In the last 50 years, the per capita availability of water in India has declined by roughly 60 percent, with an equally precipitous drop possible in the next 50 years. Meanwhile, Pakistan may be nearing the water stress limit of 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, below which serious economic and social consequences are likely. Rivalry over river resources has been a chronic source of severe interstate tension between India and Pakistan. With river resource issues intensifying, the possibility for violent interstate conflict will likely increase. Even if direct violence is avoided, their inability to resolve river resource issues will undoubtedly limit the ability of both countries to manage and utilize water resources in the most efficient manner. Inadequate management of water resources will exacerbate domestic problems in these demographically explosive societies, which could lead to a variety of unwanted conditions such as increasingly fertile grounds for political extremism and terrorism. The outcome of the important on-going dispute over the Baglihar dam has broader implications not only for future management of increasingly important interstate river issues between India and Pakistan and in the entire region of South Asia, but also for the overall character of future India-Pakistan relations. Given the current differences between the parties, the prognosis is not encouraging.
- Government and Political Science
- Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
- Civil Engineering