Policy Briefs & Reports

Institutional Determinants of Indo Nepal Hydro Cooperation Abridged Report

Sandeep Bhardwaj

Centre for Policy Research

October 15, 2019

This report has been funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as part of its Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), being implemented by The Asia Foundation and it’s partners. The goal of the SDIP program is “to increase water, food and energy security in South Asia to support climate resilient livelihoods and economic growth, benefiting the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and girls.” This research report investigates Indo-Nepal Water Treaties within the larger geopolitical and functional map of the India-Nepal relationship and South Asian dynamics. It constructs a historical narrative investigating the larger political, ideological and bureaucratic underpinnings which animated India-Nepal water relations and gave momentum to certain joint projects. Specifically, the project asks two interconnected questions – what were the larger political, economic and ideological factors which led to the particular outcomes in India-Nepal water relations and how those outcomes, in turn, affected the larger political, economic and ideological concerns in both countries. This paper focusses on cooperative hydrological projects between India and Nepal, which are designed to benefit both sides. Its scope does not include aid projects built with Indian assistance.