The Indus Waters Treaty: Modernizing the Normative Pillars to Build a More Resilient Future

  • Bjørn-Oliver MagsigEmail author
Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)


While the fact that, despite their strained relations, India and Pakistan managed to negotiate the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) has been widely celebrated as a success, tensions concerning how to share the water resources of the Indus are rising again. The apparent mismatch between analysis and reality is due to the fact that, so far, most scholars have asked the wrong questions when it comes to water security, international law, and the obligation to cooperate. This chapter will introduce a contemporary understanding of water security which goes beyond the narrow state-centered zero-sum game debate and provides a platform for various disciplines to engage in strengthening cooperation over shared waters. This novel lens will then be applied to analyze the legal framework governing the utilization of the Indus. Can the concept of common concern for water security actually be implemented through the IWT? In marrying security studies with international law, potential futures for the legal framework governing the Indus will be illustrated. It is hoped that this chapter will shine a new light on the question whether the IWT is up to the task of providing water security by building a more resilient future for the basin and whether international law has a role to play in bringing about Industan.


Indus Waters Treaty International law Treaty interpretation Common concern Duty to cooperate 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany

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