The Role of International Development in Reimagining the Indus Basin

  • Zafar AdeelEmail author
  • Paula R. Newberg
Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)


The states in the Indus basin region have benefited from international development assistance to varying degrees; however, the history of these initiatives points to approaches that do not consider the basin as a whole or a single unit. This disparity between the social, economic, and technological needs at the basin scale and responses of the international community have as much to do with internal conflicts and discord as with the lack of a cohesive vision on the part of the external interlocutors. This chapter unpacks some commonly made assumptions about engagement of international partners and analyzes how these assumptions broadly fall apart for the Indus basin due to a multitude of external and internal drivers. New development paradigms, emerging from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, are assessed for their potential to reshape regional development patterns. It is concluded that regional approaches – which fully engage Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan – are the best mode for moving forward to cope with existing and emerging challenges around economic growth; water, food, and energy security; and health and well-being of people living in the Indus basin. The international community can proactively foster such new relationships, but only if the four states are amenable to accepting such interventions.


International development assistance Foreign aid International community Water governance Water-food-energy security Regional coordination 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment and HealthHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.University of TexasAustinUSA

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