The Political Geographies of Interstate Water Disputes in India
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This dissertation explores the evolving challenges of interstate water disputes in India. It examines how the transboundary geographies of these conflicts relate in turn to the politics of dispute emergence, recurrence, and mitigation. Both formal statist spaces of contestation, and informal political spaces of nonstate engagement, are considered in this way. In contrast to a geopolitical enframing of the disputes as `water wars,' I offer the perspective of an `anti-geopolitical eye,' providing an embodied view from the ground-up of the relational linkages, practices, and processes mediating the political ecology of transboundary water sharing. The study uses mixed qualitative research methods involving analysis of archival sources and government reports, interviews, and field research to study the politics of interstate water disputes in India. Besides a legal and political genealogy of disputes resolution in India more generally, the study also critically examines the empirical case of the Krishna river water dispute between the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The analysis is informed by the theoretical traditions of critical geopolitics, political ecology, and postcolonial analysis as they relate to state-making and democracy in India. Viewed through the lens of transboundary sharing of interstate rivers, this work describes the spatiality of the overarching postcolonial condition of India. This inquiry into the colonial present of contentious politics has led to several conclusions concerning political mobilization and the nexus between the politics of interstate water disputes and democratic politics; the particular nature of the political ecology of the disputes, and transboundary water conflicts generally; and state-making, interstate relations, and democracy in India. These conclusions offer lessons for informing interstate water dispute resolution policies: the need for reviewing the bar on the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over interstate water disputes, and for supplementing legal approaches with appropriate institutions, practices, and governance structures to respond to the enduring challenges of interstate water disputes in a more inclusive and dynamic way. Overall, the analysis of the political ecology of interstate water disputes also offers insights for advancing efforts to theorize transboundary water conflicts.
- Geography 
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