NEIGHBOURS AGAIN ON THE BRINK OF WAR

ALI SUKHANVER

Ali SukhanverHave you ever heard of a landslide dam? A landslide dam is also known as Debris dam or Barrier Lake. It is a natural damming of a river by some kind of mass wasting: debris flow, rock flooding or landslide. Some landslide dams are higher than the largest existing artificial dam. The water locked away by a landslide dam may create a lake-like dam reservoir which may last from short times to several thousand years. According to river-water experts landslide dams very often fail ruinously and lead to downstream flooding because they don’t have properly controlled spillways. Landslide dams become the reason of two types of flooding: upstream flooding upon creation and downstream flooding upon failure. Though the formation of a landslide dam is purely a natural process and no one can stop or start this process but sometimes this natural process aggravates the hatred and enmity between two already hostile neighbouring countries. The same type of aggravation seems in process; says the South Kashmir Civil Society, SKCS, in a recent statement. ‘Amidst huge trust-deficit between India and Pakistan, the Zanskar River landslide -dam -breach can trigger a war like situation between Pakistan and India, the two hostile nuclear neighbouring countries of South Asia’ warns the SKCS.

According to the details provided by the South Kashmir Civil Society, Zanskar Valley of Kashmir division continues to remain under threat as one of the tributaries of the Zanskar River has been blocked by a massive 200 ft high landslide dam. This height is equal to the height of a 20 storey building. The landslide dam between Shaday Sumdo and Mar Shun in the Zanskar subdivision of Kargil district has created about 14 km long lake. Its size is increasing with every passing day. Life and property of around 4000 people of about dozens of villages is at risk due to the possible flashfloods when the landslide dam contravenes. According to different water-expert the dam breaching can result in flashing of floods and havoc to downstream population including the areas within Pakistan or under Pakistan’s administration. Although the situation is not very encouraging and hopeful yet the experts are asking the Indian government to initiate a joint strategy to avert any possibility of loss by taking Pakistan on board. But it is very much obvious that the Indian government would never initiate any strategy which goes in Pakistan’s interest rather it would feel happy in case Pakistan has to bear any kind of loss or damage as a result of this calamity. The scenario would have been altogether different if it were China in place of India. The experts who have asked India to initiate a joint strategy are no doubt very innocent people. They do not know that India’s evergreen dream is to wipe off Pakistan from the world’s map, why India would initiate a joint strategy to save Pakistan. Even the peace loving people of India are very well aware of the official policy of the BJP’s government regarding Pakistan which is simply based on one-sided hatred and enmity.

 

A few days back New Delhi-based freelance journalist and scholar on South Asian water issues, Amit Ranjan said talking to Muhammad Akbar Notezai of the Diplomat, ‘The water dispute between India and Pakistan is serious not only because of water, but also due to the political rivalry between the two countries. The Hindu right-wing groups in India call on the government to stop flow of water to Pakistan or flood it. Unfortunately, over the years the IWT, too, has failed to pacify the water conflict.’ Amit Ranjan further says, ‘As far as the Hindu right-wing groups are concerned, they must remember that India cannot unilaterally abandon a treaty mediated by the World Bank. Nations must abide by the treaties they have signed with each other.’ It is something very interesting that India wants to enjoy its position as an upper-riparian country but internationally there is no such concept of being upper-riparian and lower-riparian. We see in Europe, rivers flow between countries without any one claiming of being upper-riparian. Water is the basic need of life; snatching water means snatching life and the snatchers of life are commonly called the Murderers.

 

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