Practicing security: securitisation of transboundary rivers by hydrocrats in Himalayan South Asia

Harsh Vasani

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This paper examines the intersection of regional geopolitics and the governance of transboundary rivers using the case studies of multipurpose reservoirs in Himalayan South Asia. It uncovers the various ways Indian hydrocracy uses its institutional and technical expertise to strengthen India’s centrality in Nepal’s water and hydropower sectors. The practices of security undertaken by the hydrocrats are classified as structural, institutional, and statutory acts. By focusing on practices of an epistemic community like hydrocrats, this paper addresses longstanding weaknesses of the securitisation theory of being elitist and ignoring the agency of mid-level bureaucrats. It also highlights the constructivist nature of international politics. The findings contribute empirically to securitisation theory’s ‘Paris School’ of thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3871–3887
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Early online date16 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Brahmaputra
  • Dams
  • Hydropower
  • Securitization

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