Core Hypothesis:The corehypothesis assumed by great philosophers is that when enduring rivals reach amutually hurting stalemate or deadlock, they prefer accommodation on vitalconcerns and postpone political issues and seek for agreements. Sets of Variables:The studyutilizes two sets of variables.
The first set consists of those independent variableswhich cause war over water resources or generate environmental conflict andincludes geographical necessities, suchas the nature of physical boundaries, surface features (e.g. the controlinfrastructure, both natural and man-made); economic constraints, such as therelative dependency of the lower riparian on resources, climate change,relative location, land use and water development patterns; and politicalfactors, such as domestic constraints and external pressures. The secondset of independent variables produce accommodation between enduring rivals overwater resources. These consist of: the incidence of a mutually hurting deadlock(be it military, economic or socio-political), the need to minimize losses, thelevel of commitment to domestic reforms and the involvement of a negotiator (anexternal factor influenced by the international power context). The third set consistsof some interceding variables which influence the accommodation processinclude: successful pre-negotiation considerations, the culture of negotiation,the involvement of an influential third party, silent or secret diplomacy, thepostponement of political issue(s), and the wording of an agreement.Let’sdiscuss these variables below in detail, with a view to forming a modelconnecting concepts of water-war and water as catalyst for peace capable ofexplaining the role of Indus River waters in Pakistan-India relationship.
WATER-WAR LINKAGES: IndependentVariables.Numerousfactors can be determined which may play their role for the generation ofconflict over international rivers, however, the density and location ofresources and the nature of state boundaries seem to be the major reason forconflict. Thegeographical attributes that contribute to conflict generation overcross-boundary river water resources can be identified as the nature ofphysical boundaries, relative location, surface features (such as controlinfrastructures, both natural and man-made), the relative dominion of the lowerriparian, population and settlement, land use and water development patterns,climate and water supply, domestic values, and external pressures or relations.Among thesefactors, relative location seems to be of prime importance, since location isobviously an elemental geographical reality, and also an importantgeo-political attribute. Once the location is determined, it can be easily coordinatedwith some other geographic settings and geopolitical realities. Moreover, thelocation factor is both basic and linked to all other factors, especially tothe nature of boundaries. Therefore, keeping the nature of the case in mind,the focus is on the geographical attributes of boundaries and the location ofwater sources as central causative factors. Nevertheless, for better solutionsall the factors are accurately conceptualized below in the light of existingliterature on the subject.
The Relative Geographic Location:Inaccordance with Relative Geographic Location, the riparian states can occupyone of three possible locations: Upper, Lower, and Middle.A state witha middle location is, in a sense, simultaneously both an upper and a lowerriparian, depending on its specific context.There shouldbe a dispute regarding the use of the river, each riparian is likely to proclaimthose principles of conventional international behavior which are most advantageousfor its particular location.
Likely to bemaintained by the riparian states, four such positions, are listed below. Eachposition has been explained in the light of examples from the existingliterature regarding the appropriation and use of surface waters ininternational law and various water codes prevailing to international riversand the treaties or agreements signed between the riparian(s).The Upper Riparian and AbsoluteTerritorial Sovereignty:The Upper Riparian(s)have a very common adherence to the principle of absolute territorialsovereignty.
The UpperRiparian principle means: “A state is totally free, completely autonomous andentirely independent in its authority over its own territory. Hence, it cantake any desired course of action within its territorial borders and itsauthority is thus absolute over any and all water courses which flow within itsterritory, even though they may terminate in another country.” As a fact, UnitedStates of America has been a wholehearted supporter of this principle. Forexample, in 1895, in connection with a dispute between the US and Mexico overthe Rio Grande River, when the agreement was signed on 21 May 1903, the USagreed to deliver a fixed amount of water flow to Mexico. But the treaty demandedthat such a delivery did not constitute recognition of a Mexican claim to thewater, and that the US did not understand it to establish a general principleor legal pattern. Same hasbeen proliferated in other parts of the world as a number of experts ofInternational Law like Mackay, Hyde, Berber, Fenwick, Briggs, Oppenheim, andScott are patrons and supporters of this principle.
The Lower Riparian and AbsoluteTerritorial Integrity:The Lower Riparianprinciple states clearly that a state may not step in or participate in apractice injurious to another state. Theinternational law expert, Oppenheim states that: Every state must allow rivers,over which it does not exercise unrestricted territorial sovereignty, whetherin respect of their length or their breadth, to follow their natural course; itmay not divert the water to the impairment of one or more of any other stateswith rights to the river, interrupt, artificially increase or decrease itsflow.Definitely,a Lower Riparian would happily supplicate this principle.
Nijim argues that”this principle, by implication, infringes upon the sovereignty of the upperriparian and, in a sense, penalizes them for having an advantageous position,since the lowermost riparian is not equally restricted in its pursuit ofunilateral development.”The Middle Riparian and ResourceCommunity:It is adilemma for a middle riparian country that it does not know which principle itshould support? If it stands in favor of absolute territorial sovereigntyvis-à-vis the lower riparian, then, by its own argument, it may find itselfraveled in unlikely difficulties and problems of the same principle, should theprinciple be supplicated by the Upper riparian. On the otherhand, if the Middle riparian champions the principle of absolute territorialintegrity, it may find that it has obtruded limitations upon its own freedom ofaction vis-à-vis the Lower riparian, limitations which may compromise some ofthe development schemes planned by the Middle riparian. Nijimbelieves that a Middle riparian state will profess for a third principle ofriparian regulation, namely that of a community in water resources. Thisprinciple anticipates a maximum of cooperation amongst the riparian states intreating the whole river basin as a unit.
Its apostlesspeak sometimes of ‘natural law’ and sometimes, perhaps more practically, ofthe benefits accumulating to all the users, whether they can be the benefits ofeconomy or of political fraternization. The principle has also been supportedby non-riparians, especially in the case of traversable waterways. Theprinciple is supported by the following famous International law experts onwater affairs: Smith, Brierly, Moor, and Griffin. Restricted Sovereignty and RestrictedIntegrity: Thealternative to provide resources to communities and occupying place between theprinciples of absolute territorial sovereignty and integrity is the principleof restricted sovereignty and restricted integrity, which is derived from thethree and is manifested in an agreement, can appropriately be termed as”accommodation”. Accommodation refers to an intermediary approach. One neitheraccepting the absolute sovereignty right of the Upper riparian nor absoluteintegrity in favor of the Lower riparian. Moreover, when there is deficiency ofa sense of community in an approach in the development or use of internationalriver resources, it refers to the total deviation of a river (or rivers) by anUpper riparian to form its delegated share of a system of rivers.
Restrictionsare, mostly, imposed on the Upper riparian, not to interfere with thedownstream flow of those rivers allocated to the Lower riparian as its share,except where designated uses have been agreed upon. No joint management ofwater resources is predicted under this principle. Instead, the independentdevelopment of water resources by both the Upper and the Lower riparian, with minimummarginalization between them, is agreed upon. Somehow, if the riparians do notreach an agreement and yet neither wishes to press for the respective absoluteprinciples, the status quo tends to be maintained and no development takesplace until one riparian insists on a one-party or lineal development.
Logically,the conflict potential intrinsic in such a restriction occupies an intermediaryposition between the community principle on one hand and the two absoluteprinciples of restricted sovereignty and restricted integrity on the other.Geographic Location and ConflictPotential:There is nodoubt that the principles of absolute territorial sovereignty and integrity implicitlygreater potential for conflict than the general principle. The sovereigntyprinciple indicates an predominant preoccupation with presumed rights on thepart of one party and a denial of the similar interests for others, when theseinterests appear to be mutually diverging. It carriesan intrinsic, undeniable sense of power with the Upper riparian to discouragethe Lower riparian. This ability may, in turn, lead to the dissatisfaction onthe part of the Lower riparian, which can hardly reciprocate in kind. In thiscase, the conflict potential is both a function of the ability of the Lowerriparian to enforce its claim, as well as the tendency of the Upper riparian torespect that claim. However, mere exhortation on one or the other of these twoabsolute principles is itself indicative of a reluctance to reach a settlement,and thus a sign of absence of harmony in international relations. The principle of absolute territorialsovereignty ranks higher to the principle of absolute territorial integrity interms of conflict potential.
If a requirement on absolute sovereignty of Upperriparian leads to the impoverishment of Lower riparian from what it regards asessential to its national survival and welfare, then it is likely to considerthe possibility of resorting to force. While aninsistence on absolute integrity will lead to the use of force only if the Lowerriparian feels deprived of minimum essentials. In essence, the conflict is,associated with a bonding to absolute sovereignty. Moreover, where extremepositions are held, an insistence on absolute sovereignty will give rise to an initiativein which a river project is executed, whereas an insistence on absoluteintegrity will translate into the use of force. The formercase, involving less extreme action, is more likely than the latter; yet thebreaking point will be approached at addendum, and the Lower riparian will atsome point decide that use of force is the only resort left. On the other hand,pursuit of community principle results in a minimum of conflict potential asapparently there is a treaty not to disagree on riparian matters. In fact, ofthe three principles, this one is extremely favored by writers on internationalriparian regulations.
Due to greatconflict potential the principle of absolute sovereignty is increasingly beingregarded as a historical fact, with one writer condemning it as being:”…based upon an individualistic, anarchical conception of international law,in which selfish interests are exclusively taken as the rule of conduct and nosolution is offered regarding the opposite interests of upper and lowerriparian.” On the otherhand the community principle finds overwhelming support in the actual practiceof states, in settling their riparian disputes and in the decisions of peacemakingcourts, both of which comprise two important components of international law. There areover one hundred treaties in which co-riparian(s) have voluntarily restrictedtheir absolute freedom of action. Moreover, not a single international judicialdecision supports the principle of absolute sovereignty or absolute integrity.
The abovedescription signifies that the geographical location of a resource must be commonlyconsidered in the assessment of the potential of conflict. An Upper riparianposition, coupled with an exercise of absolute sovereignty, possesses a high conflictpotential. A Lower riparian position may also lead to conflict, but thepotential does not seem to be as great. In caseneither party insists on the absolute stance, then in the absence of anagreement a non-formal restriction on one-party development may be practiced,then the potential for conflict will be lower. A Middle-riparian position islikely to be coupled with a preference for the principle of community inresources and consequently the conflict potential will be lowest. The Nature of Political Boundaries:The originof water distribution conflict between two states is most often rooted back to differentiationof borders between the states by colonial masters. Boggs have assessed theborders on the basis of their geometric or morphologic composition, as well ason their genetic nature.Anobservation from Nijim defines that in case of geometric portrayal of borders,the potential of conflict remains high because of colonial intent or neglect tovalue any ethnic, religious and cultural divides.
On the other hand, the chancesof conflict vary in morphologic division. For instance, chances of conflictwould be high in boundaries lying in fertile lands in comparison to a desertlandscape. Boundariesin the context of rivers also present a varying possibility of conflict. Forexample, river boundaries entail a relatively high conflict potential primarilydue to a river’s facet of uniting over dividing, and its tendency to alter thecourse of ravine. Similarly, if rivers are expansive with surrounding landoverwhelmed with mires, swamps and futile land, the chances of conflict wouldremain low. Conflictsare as natural to human nature as needs and interests are. The more practicalapproach to the question of boundary classification is the one based upongenetic nature.
It denotes the relation of the boundary to the cultural patternexisting at the time of boundary delimitation. Here, three types of genericboundaries may be noted, in order of rising conflict potential: antecedent, subsequent,and superimposed. The firstpredates settlement, so that the evolution of cultural patterns, if any, isrelated to the established boundary. The subsequent is aforementioned by thesettlement, and tends to take that settlement into account. The third isindependent of the existing cultural patterns, and in fact may be forced uponthem later, as in the case of truce and ceasefire lines, or super-imposedboundaries in the event of the political division of a territory between twoindependent states.
In such acase, if any existing control structures (such as head-works, dams and barrages)acquired or awarded to the Upper riparian makes it capable of depriving the Lowerriparian of its legitimate share of water resources, the conflict potential isnot only high but inescapable too.Surface Features:Thecontributory factors of a region are the surface features of conflict becauseutilization of the valley depends upon them. For instance a valley in a remoteand rugged mountainous region will possess a minimum of conflict potential dueto its relative inaccessibility and the inappropriateness of the terrain forresource development. Moreover thefactor of surface features is related to existing human wants, abilities, andneeds. Similarly, the extensive marshy flood plain of a river is persuadable toflooding and is less useful for human development, hence constitutes lowconflict potential.On the otherhand, a fertile valley with appreciable potential for storage dams and hydroelectricpower may possess a higher degree of conflict potential. The potential would beeven greater in the case of a ‘mature river valley with good prospects forhuman settlement’ and development.
In short, if the part of a river basin isjudged by the residents or adjacent population as a good resource, actual orpotential, that part will acquire greater potential for conflict.Climate and Water Supply:The increasingamount of aridity constitutes higher conflict potential. Rising aridity createsan accelerated demand unpredicted upon decrease in the supply. Under humidconditions, on the other hand, non-fluvial water sources are available forconsumptive purposes, and therefore demand for the water supply will be less. Nijimpointed out that humid and arid river basins are different enough to haveacquired respective functional associations. Rivers in arid climates have beenassociated with consumptive and rivers in humid climates with non-consumptiveusages. He presents examples form Roman and English laws. For instance, Roman law awarded water rightson the basis of chronological priority, so that once a user had established apattern of consumption, it needs not to be concerned about interference from amore recent riparian, even though the latter may be located upstream.
On the otherhand, in north-western Europe, irrigation was of minimal importance whilenavigation interests were paramount. English Common Law thus assured to eachriparian the unmitigated continued flow of the river. Agreements, in fact, havebeen reached more readily in the latter type of basin than in the former as”the prosperity of arid regions has been especially sensitive topolitical conditions.”Population Density and SettlementPatterns:A riverbasin which is inadequately populated usually bears a lower degree of conflictpotential than the densely populated one. Similarly, an agrarian irrigationeconomy will be especially possessive of its river flow and water rights, andthus will possess a high conflict potential, compared to an industrial economy.Thispresupposition is based upon the suitability of power generation potential of ariver, given the non-consumptive nature of the water use.
However, such aneconomy may also use the river for the transportation of sewage, resulting inthe worsening of pollution prospects, and consequently of conflict potentialtoo. If the river function is predominantly for navigation or power generation,the potential will be low. For example the resource itself is not diminished inquantity or quality, and any compromise may not go beyond the matter ofnavigational rules.Nijim arguesthat the higher conflict potential may also be injected into the corepopulation area, because resistance to change and compromise is likely to bemore effectively segmented by political-administrative, historical-traditional,religious-iconographic cores of population. Thepotential will be still greater if such cores are located on either side of aninternational border. Moreover, a river basin in which the population ishomogeneous is likely to possess a lower level of conflict potential and viceversa.
Domestic Scenarios and ExternalRelations:A vulnerablestate, which needs to be protected from external pressures, harbors makes it ahigher probability of conflict potential. Such pressures may includeirredentist claims or distent intentions. The conflict potential is likely toextend to parts of the river basin outside the state. A river basin located ina politically instable state, bears high potential for conflict. Internalweakness and divisiveness might reduce conflict potential if the state ispursuing defensive external posture but sometimes state’s preoccupation withinternal affairs might lead it to an aggressive foreign policy in an attempt toachieve internal unity in the face of a presumed external danger. A state maypossibly experience a complementary situation between negative internal andnegative external pressures, with one factor reinforcing the other. Such a situationmay arise if an irredentist claim is coupled with a serious matter of disappointmentby a segment of the internal population.
In such a scenario, the conflictpotential will be far high.Summary: We canassume that the conflict potential in an arid river basin would be high if thefollowing circumstances exist in combination: a Lower riparian confronted by anUpper riparian claim of absolute territorial sovereignty, in which surfacefeatures provide control infrastructures for the Upper riparian and there areno serious obstacles for further river development projects for the Upperriparian; the region is ethnically heterogeneous with conflicting territorialclaims; the location of the disputed territory is the major source of freshwater supply for the Lower riparian. Theboundaries are super-imposed between the riparian; there is a high populationdensity throughout the basin, with several urban cores and much of thesettlement is fairly recent and the demand for water is consumptive in nature.The factors conceived in this section will be explained and assessed in future,both individually and in combination in order to ascertain their relative rolein conflict generation in the Indus Basin. The factors facilitatingaccommodation are identified in the following section.ACCOMMODATION: Independent Variables Theconcerned core question in this section of study is: Under whatconditions a Lower riparian starts accommodation vis-à-vis the Upper riparian?Under what circumstances accommodation progresses and under what conditionsdoes it regress (i.e.
returns backward to procedural accommodation or anadversarial relationship? The second question, explored here, deals with thetechniques that facilitate the accommodative process. The reviewof the existing literature reveals that no significant study firmly focuses onaccommodation between developing states, barring an effort of a student in hismasters’ thesis from which some of the variables have been incorporated in thisstudy. The additional theoretical arguments are derived from the literature onnegotiation; conflict analysis; conflict management and resolution and alsoaccommodation and cooperation between the former Super Powers; and domesticpolitics and foreign policy decision-making in the developing world by the endof Cold War. Someexplanatory variables are directly deduced by observing the phenomena ofaccommodation in the developing world, for instance, the role of the presenceor absence of a ‘culture of negotiation’ between the disputants. The role of aninfluential third party in facilitating the peace initiative and furthering theprocess of accommodation, where the disputants lack culture of negotiation, wasfound to be significant in many cases relating to the developing world.