Geopolitics of water

Geography Directions

by Robin de la Motte

Source:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brahmaputra4.JPG; Author:ignat The Brahmaputra River

In November 2010 it was reported that India and Pakistan were building rival dams on the Neelum river, a tributary of the Indus River. The river basin is covered by the Indus Water Treaty, signed in 1960. For decades, the treaty has been “widely cited as a model of exemplary cooperation in an often fractious bilateral relationship”, but India’s current development plans, focussing on hydro-electric power, threaten to destabilise the agreement. The agreement is crucial for Pakistan, as India controls the flow of the Indus into Pakistan, where it is critical for irrigation.

The geopolitics of water in the region are discussed in a 2003 article by Stephen Brichieri-Colombi and Robert W. Bradnock. The article compares and contrasts the Indus river basin with the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, the latter governed by the 1996 Ganges Waters Treaty between India and Bangladesh (previously East Pakistan…

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