ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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More on the Sharing of the Indus Waters

The important questions about the Indus waters are not about whether or not the Pakistani state is "crafty" or the Indian state a "bully". The critical transnational issues are those stemming from the complex hydrologic interconnectivity of the Indus basin waters that are not given scope in the Indus Water Treaty. This criticism of Ramaswamy R Iyer's article "Pakistan's Questionable Move on Water" (27 March) argues for an understanding of the issue from a relational and context-specific perspective on law and geography.

Ramaswamy R Iyer’s article (27 March) “Pakistan’s Questionable Move on Water”, argues that the “non-paper” regarding Indus water sharing submitted by Pakistan is motivated more by mischief than legitimate grievance. Iyer’s argument, in broad strokes is that (1) the dispute resolution mechanism provided by the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), and (2) the geographical nature of the water sharing formula, precludes the possibility of a legimitate grievance outside the framework of the treaty. Through these two assumptions, Pakistan’s nonpaper is interpreted as a “cleverly drafted” document that dangerously politicises (enter the tired backdrop: terrorists within Pakistan might take advantage) a treaty that works well. I discuss both parts of this argument, and explain why they constitute an unproductive approach to understanding transboundary water disputes in south Asia.

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