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

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Geopolitics of Dam Design on the Indus

The legal geopolitics of the Baglihar and Kishenganga hydroelectric power projects, whose legitimacy under the Indus Waters Treaty has been contested by Pakistan, demonstrates the political nature of technology and the governance of technology need not remain out-of-bounds for non-engineers. In attempting an understanding, this article seeks to step outside the conventional nationalist mode of geopolitical analysis.

The legal geopolitics of the Baglihar and Kishenganga hydroelectric power projects, whose legitimacy under the Indus Waters Treaty has been contested by Pakistan, demonstrates the political nature of technology and the governance of technology need not remain out-of-bounds for non-engineers. In attempting an understanding, this article seeks to step outside the conventional nationalist mode of geopolitical analysis.

It is widely accepted that the world is fast approaching or already in the midst of a “water crisis”. Perhaps nowhere has this diagnosis quickened pulses and inflamed passions more than in the Indus Basin in Pakistan and northwest India. Planners, politicians and scholars in both countries tend to advocate technological solutions to water problems – dams, telemetry, use of metering, drip-irrigation, lined canals, etc. At first, it is difficult to imagine a more reasonable way to proceed. Surely, listening closely to engineers is the only rational way to tackle technical problems like water supply?

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