India rejects allegations of waging 'water war' against Pak

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal on Saturday said that reduced flow of river waters into Pakistan are not the result of any "violation of Indus Waters Treaty by India or any action on our part to divert such flows or to use more than our assigned share of water from Western Rivers".

"Water issue between India and Pakistan is spoken of as an issue whose resolution is essential to build peace between our two countries."Preposterous and completely unwarranted allegations of 'stealing water' and waging a 'water war' are being made against India," Sabharwal told gathering at an event organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations and Pakistan-India Citizens Friendship Forum in Karachi.

"Such accusations bear no relation whatsoever to the reality on the ground. The fact is that India has been scrupulously providing Pakistan its share of water in keeping with the Indus Waters Treaty," he underlined.Differences over the sharing of river waters have emerged as a major irritant in bilateral relations over the past few years. Pakistan even raised its concerns in this regard during its recent strategic dialogue with the US.
Sabharwal pointed out that India itself suffered serious drought conditions last year, with around 250 districts bearing the brunt of drought.

Rainfall during the monsoons was 20 per cent less than normal countrywide, with many states in the north experiencing a much higher percentage of shortfall.He also said water flows in rivers depend on melting of snow and quantum of rainfall, and the quantum of water in the Western Rivers varies from year to year, "dipping in certain years and recovering in some subsequent years".

Sabharwal pointed out that the flow of the Chenab, after entering Pakistan, had dipped from 48,242 cusecs in 1999 to 22,991 cusecs in 2008."We have never hindered water flows to which Pakistan is entitled, not even during the wars of 1965 and 1971 as well as other periods of tense relations and we have no intention of doing so," Sabharwal said.
"Those who allege that India is acquiring the capacity to withhold Pakistan's share of water completely ignore the fact thast this would require a storage and diversion canals network on a large scale. Such a network simply does not exist and figures nowhere in our plans," he added.

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