Existing water treaties are in India’s favour, which troubles Nepal and prevents the much needed development of hydro-projects there.

Water is currently a source of some tension between India and Nepal but could become the greatest asset to the relationship if a more confident, respectful and cooperative approach is engineered by the two governments.

India’s ever-increasing energy requirements speak to its potentially most important interest in Nepal — the latter’s largely untapped hydro-power capacity. A major part of the downstream discharge of the Ganga is contributed by flows either originating in Nepal or transiting Nepal from sources in Tibet, most notably the Kosi, Gandak and Karnali river systems. Because of the terrain, Nepal also provides the best, if not the only, option for downstream flood control and dry season augmentation. A change in course of the Kosi in 2008 caused massive flooding in Bihar (as well as in Nepal), displacing millions and occasioning much loss of life. Read more