Can Afghanistan offer India the ‘other Indus’ in its strategic offensive against Pakistan? Both countries are actively exploring this via possible Chenab-like run-of-the river projects on Afghanistan’s eastern rivers. Of particular interest is river Kabul, senior officials, speaking off record, told ET.
This river has some features identical to River Chenab in Jammu & Kashmir, including similar recorded average flow of around 23 million acre feet. Afghanistan desperately wants to tap irrigation and electricity potential of its eastern rivers, most of which flow untapped into Pakistan.
In retaliation to Uri attacks, India had upped the ante by giving the go-ahead to three run of-the-river projects on river Chenab. These had earlier been put on hold due to objections raised by Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty.
Pakistan, however, does not have any such treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flows of Afghanistan’s eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunnar and Chitral, into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles.
“By helping Afghanistan build some of these run-of-the-river projects, India will end up sending a very strong signal to Pakistan, which is already quite concerned over repeated Afghan requests to donors on this issue. So we need to examine the fallout closely,” an official familiar with the issue told ET.
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