India-Pakistan Water Relations: A Theoretical Perspective
Hydro politics is an important dimension of India Pakistan relations, overshadowed mainly by strategic issues between both states. Even the discussion on water issues is more focused on technical issues. However, the main question that arises is: Is hydro politics between India and Pakistan a problem of perceptions (intentions) or it forms part of overall strategic rivalry between both states? This paper discusses India-Pakistan water relations from the theoretical perspectives of (neo) realism, (neo) liberalism, constructivism, and human security school of thought. It argues that, like in general India-Pakistan political relations, it is realism/ neo-realism which still reigns supreme in explaining India-Pakistan hydro politics as well. It argues that in the wake of the Cold War, different theories emerged which undermined the traditional approaches and perspectives of realism and liberalism. These new theoretical traditions were also employed in explaining India-Pakistan political as well water relations. However, due to the competitive security of the region of South Asia in general and India-Pakistan’s security dilemma in particular, the theoretical perspectives of (neo) liberalism, constructivism, and human security fall short in theorizing India-Pakistan water relations. To answer the question posed earlier, this paper has mostly analyzed the available literature, both theoretical and related to hydro politics, to construct the argument. Therefore, this paper concludes that instead of employing (neo) liberalism, constructivism, and human security, it is realism/ neo-realism which still reigns supreme in explaining India-Pakistan political as well as water relations.