How India betrayed Pakistan

September 19, 2010


Another opportunity to build a trustworthy relationship was wasted by India when it deprived Pakistan of its due share of one-third of the military stores, as per decision of the Joint Defence Council. By being fair and just, India could have allayed Pakistan’s sense of insecurity by transferring its military share, besides winning our gratitude in bonus. But it was not to be so.

To understand the nefarious Indian designs, one has to read John Connell’s Auchinleck: A Critical Biography, in which Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian armed forces, as well as a member of the Joint Defence Council, informed the British government on September 28, 1947: “I have no hesitation whatever in affirming that the present Indian Cabinet are implacably determined to do all in their power to prevent the establishment of the Dominion of Pakistan on a firm basis….The Indian leaders, Cabinet Ministers, civil officials and others have persistently tried to obstruct the work of partition of the armed forces….It is becoming increasingly impossible for myself and my officers to continue with our task. If we are removed, there is no hope at all of any just division of assets in the shape of movable stores belonging to the former Indian army. The attitude of Pakistan, on the other hand, has been reasonable and cooperative throughout.” The fact of the matter is that Auchinleck was forced to resign. Moreover, Sardar Patel ensured that not a single piece of defence machinery reached Pakistan. India even refused to give us the machinery for Bren-gun and fuse-filling factories that was lying packed and uninstalled.

Yet, another classic example of India’s Machiavellian duplicity came to the fore on the issue of water distribution of rivers and canals in Punjab. This issue was dealt by Committee B of the Arbitral Tribunal, which was to expire on March 31, 1948. This committee with equal representation from India and Pakistan unanimously agreed that the pre-partition shares of water would not be changed but the day after the Arbitral Tribunal ceased to exist, India stopped the supply of water in every canal coming into Pakistan threatening agriculture over 1.66 million acres. The precarious Pakistani condition was exploited to the hilt by India when a delegation headed by Ghulam Muhammad comprising Shaukat Hayat and Mumtaz Daultana was not given any choice but was made to sign a statement without changing a word or a comma by Nehru’s government on May 4, as a condition for restoring the flow of water. If it were not a blackmail, pure and simple, then what was it?

The threat potential of this ‘water bomb’ was highlighted by David E. Lilienthal, a former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, US, who, after visiting the subcontinent commented in the August 1951 issue of the Collier magazine: “With no water for irrigation (Pakistan) would be desert….No army, with bombs and shellfire, could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive.” In a timeless observation, he termed the water dispute “pure dynamite, a Punjab powder keg” and warned that “peace in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent is not in sight with these inflammables around.” This is indeed the context of today’s “water tensions.”

When lifetime opportunities presented themselves to build a genuine trustworthy friendship with Pakistan, it was India that frittered them away by betraying Pakistan’s trust. When we trusted India to be just, it deceived us. When we expected it to be prudent in its discretion, India showed indiscretion, and when we thought that it would allay our sense of insecurity, it tried to make us defenceless. In this backdrop, can Pakistanis afford to ignore George Santayana’s advice: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”



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