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Exchanging Power: Prospects of Nepal-India Cooperation for Hydropower Development

Daniel Michael Maxwell

Claremont McKenna College - International Relations

October 28, 2012

Keck Journal of Foreign Affairs, Forthcoming

Between summer monsoons and Himalayan snowmelt, Nepal is endowed with an abundance of freshwater resources. Just as Nepal’s rivers have carved the gorges of the world’s highest mountain range, these rivers carve international politics within the region. More than 200 billion cubic meters of water crosses the Indo-Nepal border each year, feeding into the Ganges watershed. The benefits derived from water management include hydropower, irrigation, and flood control to name a few; hence the "multipurpose" namesake attributed to a series of water development projects. The political geology of any river intervention divides stakeholders into "upstream" and "downstream" beneficiaries. In the case of trans-boundary rivers, these two categories of stakeholders are applied among separate nations. The management of such rivers is negotiated through bilateral treaties, thus carrying implications on national sovereignty. The purpose of this paper is to examine several challenges of bilateral hydropower development. Although multipurpose projects promise an array of benefits, the prospect of hydropower is what attracts these two countries to engage in bilateral water agreements.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: Nepal, India, Hydropower, Electricity, Bilateral, Laos, Mekong, Paraguay, Brazil, Transboundary, Rivers

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Date posted: December 26, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Maxwell, Daniel Michael, Exchanging Power: Prospects of Nepal-India Cooperation for Hydropower Development (October 28, 2012). Keck Journal of Foreign Affairs, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2193796

Contact Information

Daniel Michael Maxwell (Contact Author)
Claremont McKenna College - International Relations ( email )
Claremont, CA 91711
United States
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