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The Ebb and Flow of Water Conflicts: A Case Study of India and Pakistan

Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)

Abstract

A growing body of evidence suggests that domestic water conflicts are not only more prevalent and violent than water conflicts at the international level, they can also have regional and international implications. Using India and Pakistan as a case study, this chapter explores how water conflicts within these two countries affect water relations between them. The chapter uses two forms of research. First, it employs event databases to provide a general overview of the frequency and intensity of water conflict and cooperation both between and within India and Pakistan from 1948 to 2014. Second, it draws on expert perspectives to provide more context and analysis of how water conflicts at these two scales—domestic and international—interact. The chapter concludes that water conflicts within India are largely self-contained and have no bearing on its water relations with Pakistan, whereas water conflicts within Pakistan are closely tied to India’s actions upstream and therefore have a tendency to irritate water relations between them internationally.

Keywords

  • Indus basin
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Database
  • Water conflict
  • Domestic
  • International

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Fig. 4.1
Fig. 4.2

Notes

  1. 1.

    In this chapter, water conflict refers to a wide spectrum of both nonviolent and violent activities, including verbal hostility, protests, riots, and the use of water as a weapon of war.

  2. 2.

    For a detailed breakdown of India’s and Pakistan’s share of the Indus basin, see Sect. 1.

  3. 3.

    Wolf’s database is based on historical documents, in addition to news reports.

  4. 4.

    For more information on the “Standstill Agreement,” see Wolf and Newton (2008). “Case Study of Transboundary Dispute Resolution: The Indus Water Treaty.” University of Oregon. Retrieved from: http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/research/case_studies/Indus_New.htm.

  5. 5.

    Data on this varies, depending on the source. For example, the Strategic Foresight Group (2011) reports that the Indus basin covers 71 % of Pakistan’s territory and provides water for 77 % of the population.

  6. 6.

    The opinions expressed here are the subject’s personal views. They do not represent the views of the ADB or the government of Pakistan.

  7. 7.

    The opinions expressed here are the subject’s personal views. They do not represent the views of the ADB or the government of Pakistan.

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Correspondence to Kristina Roic .

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Roic, K., Garrick, D., Qadir, M. (2017). The Ebb and Flow of Water Conflicts: A Case Study of India and Pakistan. In: Adeel, Z., Wirsing, R. (eds) Imagining Industan. Water Security in a New World. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32845-4_4

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