Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Pakistan valt India aan over water Indus, India slaat terug
Ernstig watertekort Indus heeft geleid tot gevecht tussen Pakistan en India. India zette nieuwe terreurwapen in.
India and Pakistan Feud Over Indus Waters
Fight Threatens Peace Talks
The countries have harmoniously shared the waters of the Indus River for decades. A 50-year-old treaty regulating access to water from the river and its tributaries has been viewed as a bright spot for India and Pakistan, which have gone to war three times since 1947.
Now, the Pakistanis complain that India is hogging water upstream, which is hurting Pakistani farmers downstream. Pakistani officials say they will soon begin formal arbitration over a proposed Indian dam. At a meeting that started Sunday, Pakistan raised objections to new Indian dam projects on the Indus River and asked for satellite monitoring of river flows.
"Water I see emerging as a very serious source of tension between Pakistan and India," said Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, in an interview Friday. He said he has raised the issue with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A senior Indian government official denied India is violating the treaty. He blamed Pakistan's water shortage on changing weather patterns and the country's poor water management. He called the strident rhetoric from Pakistani officials a "political gimmick…designed to place yet one more agenda item in our already complex relationship." Indian officials declined comment on the record.
The latest dispute revolves around India's plans to build a 330-megawatt hydroelectric power project on the Kishenganga River, a tributary of the Indus. India says it is well within its rights to build the dam. The project has been on the drawing board since the late 1980s and is expected to cost about $800 million.
Pakistan says New Delhi's plans to divert the course of the river will reduce its flow by a third in the winter. That would make it unfeasible for Pakistan to move ahead with its own plans for a hydroelectric dam downstream.
Pakistan wants to put the Kishenganga project before an arbitration panel—the first time that mechanism of the treaty will have been used. If India agrees, a seven-person court of arbitration would include two members appointed by each country, and three outsiders. India hasn't yet responded formally to the proposal, according to the Pakistan delegation to the meeting.
"We're already a water-stressed country," Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan's Indus waters commissioner, said ahead of this week's meeting. India's construction of new dams is "aggravating the stresses."
The water dispute comes as the relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors is at an inflection point. India last month invited Pakistan to discuss the resumption of regular peace talks, and the two countries' foreign secretaries met in Delhi Feb. 25. A water squabble could upset those peace efforts.
India deploys world's hottest chilli to fight terrorismBhut jolokia, or 'ghost chilli', to be used for teargas-like grenades to immobilise suspects, defence officials say
(1060)Tweet this (247)Stephen Bates
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 March 2010 12.16
(Farmer Digonta Saikia shows a bhut jolokia pepper plucked from his field in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP)
Ever since the Trojan Horse – and probably long before – men have bent their minds to developing the ultimate secret weapon. Now, at last, the Indian army just might have discovered it: the world's hottest chilli pepper.
The Indian army believes that the pungency of its ground seeds of the bhut jolokia – a capsicum hybrid, growing around the banks of the Brahmaputra river, that is reputed to be 100 times hotter than a jalapeño – could be harnessed in smoke grenades against rioters or to flush out terrorists in confined spaces. The army said the weapon could also be used in aerosol sprays by women warding off attackers.
Older readers who can recall The Goon Show's Major Dennis Bloodnok's frequent strangulated cry of: "It was hell, I tell you. No more curried eggs for me!" may wonder why it has taken them so long, for the vegetable is said to be powerful enough to deter a charging elephant.
The 3in-long stubbly red pepper has been measured at 1,041,427 units on the Scoville scale, twice as hot as the next fieriest pepper, the Mexican red savina, and 200 times hotter than Tabasco sauce, so much so that it gained a place in Guinness World Records. A jalapeño, by contrast, registers a measly 10,000 on the Scoville scale.
RB Srivastava, director of the life sciences department at the New Delhi headquarters of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, said: "This is definitely going to be an effective non-toxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hideouts. It would literally choke them."