KEEPING in view the policy India has been following over the years to deprive Pakistan of its rightful share of water, as prescribed under the Indus Waters Treaty, it would be premature to assume that its willingness to review the Nimo Bazgo Dam project and assess the suitability of installing telemetry system suggests a change of heart. The first round of talks in the three-day meeting of the Indo-Pakistan Permanent Indus River Commission, held at Lahore on Sunday to sort out contentious issues arising out of the operation of IWT, produced this reaction from head of the Indian side Aranga Nathan. Their final response, as he added, depended on technical opinion. About Indias mala fide intentions there can be little doubt. History is enough guide to support the view that it has endeavoured to do harm to Pakistan at every turn. At the moment, it has plans to construct as many as 67 projects in the upper reaches (in the illegally occupied part of Kashmir) of rivers assigned to Pakistan under the IWT and out of which 19 have already been completed. The pity is that while the dirty scheming to turn Pakistan into a vast desert was going on across the border, our leadership had been busy in either mutual wrangling or simply showing neglect for want of a proper grasp of the implications of building upstream storages, especially by a hostile power. The reaction of the farming community, accusing the government of inaction in the face of India blatantly stealing water from our rivers, is not off the mark. As past experience has shown, it woke up to protest against the construction of Baglihar dam when considerable headway had already been made on the project, and continued to rely on New Delhis good intentions to adapt its design so as not to affect Pakistans interests. That was so even while the media as well as other sections of society, particularly agricultural, had been alerting it to the danger of relying only on persuasion. The threat that it would take the case to the World Bank, the guarantor of the IWT, also never materialised. Indias machinations would have to be robustly tackled. It would try to undermine the base of Pakistans economy in the hope of realising its dream of regional hegemony. Islamabad has to act fast to meet the Indian challenge that is compounding the misery caused by the erratic climatic behaviour as a result of global warming. A firm and decisive approach at the international level on the one hand, and utilisation of available resources and the use of water-saving technology on the other, should enable us to ward off a threatened and suffocating sandstorm.