Two-level games on the trans-boundary river Indus: Obstacles to Cooperation

Hanifeh Rigi, Jeroen F. Warner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This synthesis paper explores the reasons hindering water cooperation between India and Pakistan on the Indus River Basin. It argues that both domestic and international-level elements narrow the size of the 'win-sets' which make water cooperation between the two states highly challenging. Not only state actors but also the domestic actors in both India and Pakistan have repeatedly played 'water games'. Further, due to long-standing geopolitical and territorial conflicts between India and Pakistan, the strategies pursued so far by these states including 'securitization', 'issue-linkage' and 'alliance strategies' as leverage mechanisms, have also contributed to the lack of cooperation in their water realm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-990
Number of pages19
JournalWater Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Hydropolitics
  • India
  • Indus
  • Pakistan
  • Securitization
  • Two-level game

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