Following the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan has taken many minor steps which would not harm India but the serve the Imran Khan government in pleasing the domestic audience. The debt ridden country could not afford to strike a direct military offensive against India for the Jammu and Kashmir move as it does not have the capability to stand against India. However, the proxy war fought by Pakistan against India through terror groups in Pakistan may not end just yet. Cross-border shelling and infiltration into Indian territory by Pakistan forces and terrorists shall also not end easily. The state sponsor of terror may not be deterred easily, however, cancellation of the Indus Water Treaty could strike a final blow on Pakistan’s pro-terrorist regime.
Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended bilateral trade. The Pakistan government also suspended the two train services between both countries- the Samjhauta Express and Thar Express services. It also sent back Indian High Commissioner, Ajay Bisaria to give a strong message to India and around the world in an attempt to paint a war-like situation in the region. The Imran Khan government wants to show to the domestic audience and international community that they are very serious on the Kashmir issue. Pakistan asked many countries and intergovernmental organization to mediate on the Kashmir issue and condemn the abrogation of Article 370. The Imran Khan government also insolently plans to observe India’s independence day as a ‘black day’ in a move to fuel more hate against India in the Pakistani population.
The global powers including United States denied intervening in the issue, as its India’s ‘internal matter’. China criticized the move as it affects the Aksai Chin area, a region in Ladakh illegally occupied by China after India lost 1962 war.
The decisions by Pakistan are ineffective to make any strong impact on India. However, the suspension of trade ties is insignificant as the debt ridden country accounts for less than even one percent of India’s total trade volume. The diplomatic relations were already all time low as India has refused any talks until Pakistan stops sending terrorist on this side of the border. The banning of Bollywood movies will hurt the Pakistani film distributor’s more than Indian movie business.
Therefore, the steps announced by Pakistan would hurt the debt ridden country more than India. If India wants to hurt the neighboring country, only one move (blockage to the flow of Indus) is enough to bring the whole country on its knees. The country is facing severe water crisis and to use its share of water in the Indus Water System, Pakistan has started a fundraising campaign for a dam which is being supported by judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The crowd funding drive aims to raise 14 billion dollars to build two dams and install water reservoirs.
Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues of Pakistan with many organizations estimating water shortage in the country by 2025 if dams are not built. Pakistan’s Prime Minister himself urged Pakistanis living in other countries to donate generously. Imran Khan called upon the expatriate Pakistanis to take part in this ‘jihad’.
About 140 million acre feet (MAF) of water flows into Pakistan from India through three western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) of the Indus Water Basin. As per the Indus Water Treaty 1960, Pakistan is allowed to use almost 80 percent of the water from the three western rivers. India has full rights over three east flowing rivers (Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi) of the Indus river basin. However, over the years India has generously given uninterrupted flow of water from these rivers to Pakistan. There would be disastrous effects if the treaty ceases to exist. If India decides to scrap the Indus water treaty and stops the flow of the rivers, the Pakistani Prime Minister would have to face unimaginable backlash and the blame will lie on his continued support for terrorism.