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Pakistan Can Win Legal Battle Against India Over Water Issues. But How? 

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If Pakistan does enough technical and scientific research to find out the minimum level of water required to make the ecosystem healthy, then it could easily win a legal battle against India at an international platform when it comes to water issues.

Despite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi politicising the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and threatening to stop the flow of water into Pakistan, India can’t possibly take any such measures due to international norms and India’s current infrastructure.

Moreover, India can’t divert the flow of water to Pakistan as the River Indus originates from China. Therefore, Indian policies on water agreements will have a cascading effect on China-India water relations as well.

Even in the past, India had threatened Pakistan several times that it would stop the flow of water; however, every top Indian official is aware they cannot do that. The most it can do is: diverting the flow of water.

In order to truly stop the flow of water, India would need to construct a cascade of reservoirs and dams. And building dams could take several years and billions of dollars.

The treaty, which was signed between Pakistan and India with the help of the World Bank, the United States and other western powers in September 1960, is being made controversial by the Modi government by his continuous emphasis on stopping Pakistan’s water flow. That would never help India’s case instead it would internationally isolate the country.

If India violates the IWT by diverting eastern rivers, considering that treaties are sovereign commitments and can’t be abrogated at will, the country will have to face international isolation and it would seriously tarnish India’s credibility.

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Moreover, in case India tries to do that, it could also be detrimental to ecosystem as there is no information about the minimum water required to keep the ecosystem healthy.

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD), has urged Pakistan to undertake technical and sound scientific studies that can withstand the scrutiny of international experts, to put on the table to stop India from making any plan of diverting eastern rivers in the future.

“The sooner such discussion begins, between the commissioners of the IWT, the more legitimate will be Pakistan’s ability to checkmate or object to any plans of diverting eastern rivers in the future,” he wrote in an opinion piece for Geo.

Courtesy: Al Jazeera

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