Imran Khan’s government has promised to break with the stalled diplomacy of the past governments and engage with India proactively. While diplomacy with the Indians has been akin to talking to a brick wall in recent years, the process itself yields infestimial but incremental progress every time. The new government has certainly shaken up the formula. The approach to the international community over the violence in Kashmir was more effective this time around; Indian provocations find a firm and ready response; and Pakistan’s peace overtures – such as the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor – have found favour abroad and have exposed India’s obstinate and illogical stand against negotiations.

It is time that the same brand of proactive diplomacy is practiced in other arenas – especially those which are exigent for the nation’s survival. Chief among them is the Indian construction of dams on rivers that Pakistan has right to under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Pakistan has once again – as unsuccessfully as the last time – urged India to fulfil its commitment made in August this year of getting its two hydropower projects — 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal — inspected by Pakistani experts. India, as usual, stonewalls these requests or outright ignores them.

The tactics adopted by Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah to change this are frankly infective – although to be fair to him, these are the only ones in his direct power. Writing letters, making calls on the hotline, and appealing to the World Bank – who is an arbitrator in the IWT – is not going to make any difference to a stubborn and belligerent India.

Instead the need of the hour is a concentrated push undertaken by the head of the state, bringing to bear all the diplomatic potential of the government. Only then can this cycle of stonewalling be broken. Given how integral water security is to this government’s agenda, this is an issue that it must raise at all costs.