International water law and hydropolitics: An enquiry into the water conflict between India and Nepal

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Despite an open border, shared culture, religious ties and strong people-to-people connectivity, governance of transboundary water resources has often led to diplomatic conflicts between India and Nepal. It is not unusual for hydro-development projects between the two to run into delays or opposition, despite great domestic need for water and electricity in both countries. Using fieldwork in Delhi and Kathmandu, this paper illustrates the factors that impede cooperation between the two sides on shared rivers and how the inadequacies of international water laws manifest themselves in bilateral negotiations on water governance. The paper locates the benefit-sharing framework in international water law using the case studies of the Pancheshwar and the SaptaKoshi–SunKoshi Project in the Mahakali and Koshi basins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-281
Number of pages23
JournalWater International
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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