The Ganges River is traditionally governed bilaterally, with India at the centre of interactions. Bilateralism is arguable leveraged to India's advantage on a national and transboundary level. This is problematic as issues such as climate change require holistic and basin-wide solutions. Initiatives such as China's Belt and Road strategy are challenging Indian hegemony and pushing for multilateralism. The implications of this for transboundary water governance are investigated through discourse and the concept of discourse inertia. This shows how India is seeking to leverage its position in the sub-region through bilateralism and discursive tactics in response to China's increasing influence.