Largely unreported in the western press are the devastating effects that electric power shortages are having on the Asian sub-continent, particularly in Pakistan and India. While the underlying cause of these shortages is insufficient investment to keep up with growing populations and economies, poor monsoons in recent years have led to drastic cuts in hydro-electric production. This, coupled with falling natural gas supplies and coal shortages, suggests serious consequences before year’s end.

Textile production, which accounts for over 60 percent of Pakistan’s exports, has been seriously harmed due to the lack of electricity to run looms. Many firms say they are close to closing down.

India likewise is suffering from the poor monsoon that is drying up agricultural production as well as cutting hydro-electric supplies. The country already has a shortage of 15-20,000 megawatts of electricity generation, is plagued with rolling blackouts, and faces a much worse situation as the year progresses. To compound the problem, India is faced with falling coal stocks, with some generating stations down to a few days’ supply.