European Journal for Security Research

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 201–242 | Cite as

Indus Water Treaty in the Doldrums Due to Water–Power Nexus

  • Naeem AbasEmail author
  • Nasrullah Khan
  • Muhammad Shoaib Saleem
  • Malik Hassan Raza
Original Article


Hydropower dams on rivers in the Indus Basin are becoming new elements in power geopolitics due to the threat of “aqua bombs” to downstream regions. Water law may limit such perceived water wars. The transboundary river water sharing agreements that bind bordering states are overstretched, particularly between Pakistan and India. Meanwhile, factors such as the expansion in industry and population, global warming, and reduction in oil and gas resources diminish scarce natural water resources. In addition, due to water pumping at levels above natural recharge rates, the underground water table has reached a state of continual free fall in the Indian and Pakistani Punjab. This work points out the dire need to reform international law to address such transboundary river conflicts, as water conflicts may become fully fledged armed conflicts with the current approach. The concurrence of power, energy, food, and water crises may wreak havoc on international river agreements if not addressed in international law. However, the laws that define rights among developed states may not be suitable for developing countries, and water and food security are critical issues for sovereign nations. Water sustains life, effectively determining all other geopolitical issues. The aim of this work is to investigate how international law could be adjusted with regard to international water sharing in order to resolve issues such as the energy crisis, economic collapse, global warming, and climate change.


Indus Water Treaty Transboundary basins Water wars Water conflicts 



The authors are grateful to the Irrigation Department, Govt. of Punjab, Pakistan for providing the data regarding the Chenab River.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of GujratGujratPakistan
  2. 2.Kalair Energy NexusWazirabadPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Electrical EngineeringCOMSATS University IslamabadIslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of Management and Technology LahoreSialkotPakistan
  5. 5.Department of EnglishUniversity of GujratGujratPakistan

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