(A version of this piece first appeared in Firstpost on Apr 09, 2019) Last time we saw how the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) defanged the dam as a geopolitical source of advantage. But the more relevant question to ask is – will securing the Indus secure India’s water future? To answer that question, we need …
Why did India deactivate its own hydro-disciplining tool against Pakistan? Travel from Partition, through the Cold War, China's takeover of Tibet, Drought to the signing of the IWT.
How the British Raj created a 'tap' that could be turned off. How they undermined local resilience in favour of large-scale non-local intervention. How they increased the vulnerability of the land. And, of course, the Russians.
The Indus Valley provides a fascinating and disturbing example of what geopolitics, colonisation, finance and climate can do to a region. This vulnerable land, which the British transformed with philosophy, canals, land and tax reforms into what it is today - a fault-line between two nuclear nations. Today, with tensions rising, the question asked is “can the tap on the Indus waters be turned off?”