Vice-President releases Brahma Chellaney's book 'Water: Asia's New Battleground'

Vice-President Hamid Ansari has underscored the need to be non-emotive in resolving water issues.

“To be equitable and reasonable should be the underlying principles on which international disputes can be worked on,” he said after releasing Brahma Chellaney's book, Water: Asia's New Battleground here.

Stressing on the need for display of “great wisdom and patience” in trying to find solutions to water disputes, he said absolute positions would only create problems. “Resolving water disputes requires preventive diplomacy and regional collaborative mechanisms.''

Referring to the Eradi Commission set up in 1986 which “could not produce its recommendations and the delay in the Supreme Court coming up with its decision on a Presidential reference to an act of the Punjab Legislative Assembly (on Sutlej-Yamuna link canal), Mr. Ansari said water was a difficult and complex subject which cannot but induce strong reactions. Yet rather than stand on sovereign rights, there was need to be reasonable and equitable.

Growing population

Mr. Chellaney pointed out that with growing population and competitive demands on water resources, the world was on the cusp of a new era of water shortages with Asia being at the centre of future challenges. It was becoming a new area of potential flashpoint of water disputes.

According to him, while there are 57 river basins in Asia, there have been only four trans-boundary agreements of which he described the 1996 Ganga water treaty between India and Bangladesh and the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan as the only “genuine water-sharing pacts.”

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