Abstract

Countries sharing the Brahmaputra River have for decades deliberated on formulating and implementing cooperative strategies to develop the potential of the basin. Yet, little progress has been made so far at the government-to-government track 1 level in achieving regional cooperation due to the diverse national interests of the riparian countries. This has led to tension and friction among co-riparian nations and mistrust at political level. Drawing from the Brahmaputra Dialogue, this paper aims to highlight the merit of multi-track and multilateral dialogue processes for building trust and confidence between the riparian countries – paving a way towards transboundary cooperation. The paper concludes that given the geo-politics and the national interests of each riparian nation, negotiation for a treaty for cooperation through track 1 diplomacy, in the Brahmaputra River Basin (BRB), is a non-starter. Multi-track and multilateral dialogues can provide a platform to pursue positive interactions and can be viewed as an extension to existing state-diplomacy in BRB, to bring about sustainable change in the basin management.

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