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Water Dispute Between India and Pakistan over Kashmir 1

Austin Rice
Research Project
Water Dispute Between India and Pakistan over Kashmir

Oil, gold, natural gas, and land are all examples of objects that humans have fought and are even
fighting over. In recent years these have been the conflicts that reach the news. Yet the most valuable
resources seems to be left out. In history and even in the present it is one of the most fought over
resources. Water, it is the driving force of all life on Earth, water is what supports humans, animals, and
plant life. Given its importance it is only natural that humans, greedy creatures, will do anything to get
It is possible that one war can cause the entire human population to die off. This refers to nuclear
winter. The scenario refers to two powerhouse countries deploying and exploding multiple nuclear
bombs. The sudden amount of radiation thrown into the atmosphere can cause colder weather due to the
lack of solar radiation being able to pass through the Earths atmosphere. This alone will kill off most
living animals, plants, and humans. Nuclear Winter, or Atomic Winter will be a man made Ice Age.
In all the earth today there s no threat greater than Nuclear Winter. Since more and more
countries are able to get Nuclear bombs the chance of it
happening is exponentially rising. As of now, only one dispute
in the world will be at Nuclear Warfare soon, this is India versus
Pakistan over Kashmir. According to Varshney (1991)
The Kashmir problem, which goes back to the
partition of India in 1947, shares these
properties of the new ethnicity. Kashmir is a
territory between India and Pakistan with one-
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third of the original state of Jammu and
Kashmir (J&K) now with Pakistan and two-thirds with India. (p. 998).
These two countries both have Nuclear bombs and they are both willing to use them. There dispute over
Kashmir and its water. Kashmir is a region divided between three countries China, India, and Pakistan.
China is not involved in this dispute due to how powerful the country is and that the land it occupies does
not have the resources India and Pakistan want. As of now India and Pakistan have gone to three Wars
over Kashmir. Both of whom have good reasons for doing so. India needs the rivers for energy while
Pakistan needs the rivers for agricultural.
The War have taken their toll on India and Pakistan, but most of all Kashmir. The dispute is
advancing from a two country dispute to a global dilemma. India and Pakistan both have their reasons for
going to war, but there may be a bigger problem. Do these wars relate to the amount of people in each
country? The population size of each country is the main reason these wars have happened and will
continue to happen. Its not just the size of the population, but rather providing each population with the
necessary food, and electricity for them to survive. Has the war front reached the Nuclear Winter stage
yet? This dispute has not reached Nuclear Winter stage yet, but it will soon if it does not end. The three
wars so far have been relatively stagnant because both countries and timid to introduce drastic measures.
But if the two do not come to an agreement or some other country does not step in both India and
Pakistan will resort to the drastic measures.
India is the second most populated country in the world only behind China. According to
Polgreen and Tavernise (2010) About 40 percent of Indias population is off the power grid, and lack of
electricity has hampered industry(p.1). India plans on building Hydroelectric Dams to help with their
energy crisis (Polgreen and Tavernise 2010). The lack of energy is taking its toll on the Indian economy.
Cohen (2002) found that
India has for several years been regarded as an emerging or rising state. After decades of
unfulfilled promise, it now seems to be inching ahead, with more rapid economic
growth, new attention from the major powers, and the development of a modest nuclear
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arsenal. Adding these developments to Indias traditional strengths a unique and
persistent democracy and an influential culture it is no wonder that many have
predicted the emergence of India as a major Asian power, or even a world-class state.
However, this remains a problematic development as long as Indias comprehensive and
debilitating rivalry with Pakistan continues, including that dimension of the rivalry that
encompasses the 50-year-old Kashmir dispute. (p.32).
India's need for a strong powerful economy, forces their hand at war. The country realizes that they either
holter the rate at which their population grows or provide more electricity for their population.
The energy problem in India is only getting worse. The population is on a 1.3% growth rate, more
humans are being born when compared to dying off. The need for electricity is only getting higher.
Bhattacharyya (2006) found that India accounts for a third of the world's population without access to
electricity and about 40% of those without access to modern energy(p.125). Bhattacharyya (2006) also
mentions that several initiatives and policies have been put forward to help lower income houses, but with
little success. According to Bhattacharyya (2006):
It can be observed that more than two-thirds of those lacking electricity access are
concentrated in 12 countries, mostly located in South Asia and Africa. India alone
accounts for more than 35% of the world's population without electricity access, making
it the largest contributor to the problem in the world.(p.3388)
The energy problem stems to more than just India, but the problem it more concentrated in India
Bhattacharyya (2006). This means that India has the world's worst energy problem when compared to
other countries on a global scale. This is shown by the following table from IEA (2002):

Table 1.
Countries with large population without electricity access in 2000
Country Population without access to

Per capita electricity consumption
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Million % of world total

India 579.10 35.44 393
Bangladesh 104.40 6.39 102
Indonesia 98.00 6.00 390
Nigeria 76.15 4.66 85
Pakistan 65.00 3.98 374
Ethiopia 61.28 3.75 24
Myanmar 45.30 2.77 74
Tanzania 30.16 1.85 55
Kenya 27.71 1.70 107
Nepal 19.50 1.19 61
DPR of
17.80 1.09 1288
Mozambique 16.42 1.00 47
World total 1634.20 100.00 2343
Note: PECprimary energy consumption.
Source: IEA (2002).

Pakistan does not plan on building dams, but rather use the water coming from Kashmir to
irrigate their crop land. According to Polgreen and Tavernise (2010) Pakistan contains the worlds
largest contiguous irrigation system(p.1). Pakistan is worried that India will take advantage of the rivers
flowing out of Kashmir. Polgreen and Tavernise (2010) found the following:
In Pakistan, the project raises fears that India, its archrival and the upriver nation, would
have the power to manipulate the water flowing to its agriculture industry a quarter of
its economy and employer of half its population. (p.1)
Pakistan and India have been rivals since partition of India in 1947, and have fought three wars
already. The fear that India will manipulate the water, to either kill their economy or force
Pakistan to bow to India, is a real and dangerous threat.
Pakistans largest river is the Indus River, which contributes to their irrigation canals.
The Indus River comes from Kashmir, and flows to Pakistan. As of now, this is one of the rivers
that India is planning on building a Hydroelectric dam on (Polgreen and Tavernise 2010). This
would cause the river to dwindle in size shrinking the amount of water that Pakistan would
Water Dispute Between India and Pakistan over Kashmir 5
receive from it. Since the majority of Pakistans economy is based on the agriculture is produced
(Polgreen and Tavernise 2010), the lack of water would be detrimental to the county.
The need for electricity and irrigation water for each of these populations are the driving
forces for these wars. The dilemma that Pakistan and India are facing will affect both of their
economies. Both countries need the water but as of now only one can get it. Deciding who will
claim Kashmir will either result in a joint union or one country will try to annihilate the other.
Before the conflict began India and Pakistan were separated due to religious beliefs. The two
countries were separated into the majority of Hindus in India and the majority of Muslims in Pakistan.
According to Q&A: Kashmir Dispute (2012) provided by BBC:
The territory of Kashmir was hotly contested even before India and Pakistan won their
independence from Britain in August 1947. Under the partition plan provided by the
Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. The
Maharaja, Hari Singh, wanted to stay independent but eventually decided to accede to
India, signing over key powers to the Indian government - in return for military aid and a
promised referendum. Since then, the territory has been the spark for two of the three
India-Pakistan wars: the first in 1947-8, the second in 1965. In 1999, India fought a brief
but bitter conflict with Pakistani-backed forces who had infiltrated Indian-controlled
territory in the Kargil area.
In recent years Kashmir has announced that they do not want to be ruled by India, but rather be
independent or under Pakatan rule due to the fact that 60% of the Kashmir population is Muslim (Q&A:
Kashmir Dispute 2012).
This conflict seems to be a easy problem to fix except for the fact that both countries harbor
classified terrorist, this prevents other nations from intervening. Cohen found
The region is the site and the source of some of the worlds major terrorist groups. Aside
from Al-Qaeda, these include a number of groups based in or tolerated by Pakistan, and
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India itself has tolerated or encouraged various terrorist groups operating in nearby
states, and has its own internal terrorist problem quite apart from Kashmir. (p.32)
With both groups being related to a terrorist organization it is hard for other countries like the United
States to intervene. This makes negotiation even more difficult.
Pakistan has continually led and assisted with attacks against India. According to Bajpai (2002)
two groups trained and financed by Pakistan led and organised an assault on the Indian Parliament, and
Kashmir state legislature, these attacks were within two months of each other; The distance between
attacks forced India to deploy military forces along the Pakistan border. BBC found that
In 2002 there was a huge deployment of troops on both sides of the border as India
reacted to an armed attack on the national parliament in Delhi the previous
December.(Q&A: Kashmir Dispute 2012).
Along with this battle there has been many more small terrorist attacks. Most of the small battles are from
terrorist groups on both sides of the conflict. One of the more recent conflicts would be the insurgency in
2010 (Q&A: Kashmir Dispute 2012). Ten of thousands of lives have been lost during the three major
wars and multiple small attacks. According to Bajpai (2002) the only reason both counties haven't been
driven to drastic measure and introduced Nuclear Warfare would be related to the apprehension that much
harm would come to either country, and little advantages would be gained.
Resolutions to the conflict may be out of reach for both Pakistan and India. Neither one of them
want to see the other win. The situation may turn into a no win situation (i.e. If I cant have it, no one can).
Unless both come to an agreement miraculously, the war will continue. The most reasonable way for this
dispute to stop would be for another country to step in and negotiate with both sides. Or for a big country
like China, U.S., or Russia to step in and force the situation to stop. This does not happen because of the
terrorist groups the both Pakistan and India harbor. Ganguly (2006) provides a solution to the problem,
The United States can, and should, play a role in facilitating an end to the conflict by
prodding both sides to reach an accord. Doing so will require that Washington change its
stance toward both India and Pakistan...(p.45).
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This solution would work if powerful countries were willing to change their ways. This solution that
Ganguly (2006) provided only refers to the U.S., but it can be expanded to other big counties. There may
be no way for this dispute to end while both countries feel empowered to the Kashmir. Kashmir, who has
strived for independence (Q&A: Kashmir Dispute 2012), cannot stand up for itself unless some other
country backs is up. Yet again no country is doing so. Kashmir is just considered property to both India
and Pakistan, with this state of mind the dispute will not end. Nuclear Warfare, of of the few things on
Earth that can kill of everything, is coming. Pakistan and India have both proven that they have Nuclear
Bombs, its only a matter of time until one is set off.
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Bajpai, S (2003). Untangling India and Pakistan. Council of Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs Vol.82
Retrieved from

Bhattacharyya, S (2006). Energy access problem of the poor in India: Is rural electrification a remedy?.
Energy Policy Vol.34 No.18. University of Dundee. Scotland, UK.

British Broadcasting Company (BBC), (2012, August 7). Q&A: Kashmir dispute. BBC News. Retrieved

Cohen, S. P. (2002). India, Pakistan and Kashmir. Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 25 No. (4), p.32-60.
doi: 10.1080/01402390412331302865, Brookings Institution. Washington DC, US

Ganguly, S. (2006). Will Kashmir Stop Indias Rise?. Council of Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs
No. 4. URL:

IEA (2002). World Energy Outlook. International Energy Agency, Paris (2002) Ch.13. Retrieved from

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McLaughlin, M. Morris Knolls High School History Webpage. Retrieved from

Polgreen, L., & Tavernise, S. (2010, July 21). Water dispute increases India-Pakistan tension. The New
York Times p.A1. Retrieved from

Varshney, A. (1991). India, Pakistan, and Kashmir: Antinomies of Nationalism. Asian Survey, Vol. 31,
No. (11), p.997-1019. University of California Press. California, US.