Pakistan Warns India Against Using Water for Coercion

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN

A top Pakistani diplomat has called on the world community to ensure that international agreements on waterways, such as the 1960 World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, were not undermined through “unilateral or coercive measures.”

“Access to water is a fundamental right that must be protected at all times,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council, while warning against any use of water as an instrument of coercion and war.

Speaking in a debate on “Water, Peace and Security”, Ambassador Lodhi noted Tuesday that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had, in his opening address, also cited the 56-year-old treaty, which regulates the flow of six rivers between India and Pakistan, as an example of positive cooperation.

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She said, “We will respect and protect our existing understandings and build where they are yet to be reached.”

Her remarks were aimed at India which has threatened to block water supplies to Pakistan after militants attacked in Uri sector of the Indian occupied Kashmir in September.

As regards member states’ ability to cooperate in water sharing, Ambassador Lodhi said there were several international institutions capable of address the technical or financial needs for developing and sustaining cooperation.

However, she said the only international body that can enhance member states’ political ability to cooperate was the Security Council.

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“It is the Security Council’s responsibility to resolve international conflicts and disputes, especially longstanding, prolonged conflicts, in particular in Asia and Africa,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to maintaining cooperation in the face of water scarcity, Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan will not allow this challenge to put international peace and security at risk.

She suggested that the international community should promote bilateral and regional agreements on waterways and ensure that, once those agreements were developed, they are not undermined through unilateral or coercive measures.

Photo courtesy: Maleeha Lodhi / Twitter

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