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"India, Pak war over water likely'

March 21, 2005 08:51 IST

A strategic think-tank has said a war over water between Pakistan and Kashmir was 'inevitable'.

"If India and Pakistan take a political decision to restructure their relations, they will have to ensure that water serves as a flow to bring them together, rather than taking them further on the course of conflict," the Strategic Foresight Group said in a report 'The Final Settlement: Restructuring India-Pakistan Relations'.

The report of the Mumbai-based body said Pakistan's per capita water availability had declined from 5,600 cubic metres at the time of independence to 1,200 cubic metres in 2005. It was expected to reach the threshold level of 1,000 cubic metres before 2010, or even earlier by 2007.

"While all (Pakistani) provinces are suffering from water shortages, there is a tendency to force Sindh to bear a disproportionately higher share of the burden than Punjab," it said.

The Pakistani army leadership was keen on ensuring water supply to Punjab at the cost of Sindh.

"Senior officers, including General Pervez Musharraf [Images], have purchased land in Punjab," the 109-page report said.

Keeping this in mind, 'Pakistan's primary interest in Kashmir is to secure its water resources in order to satisfy Punjab and contain Sindh. This is in confrontation with the interests of the people of Kashmir on both sides of the LoC [Line of Control]', it said.

"A conflict over land between the people of Kashmir and the government of India will soon become a thing of the past. On the other hand, a water war between Kashmir and Pakistan is inevitable in the future," the report said.

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