ABSTRACT The history of Indo-Nepal water resource cooperation is a litany of dashed hopes, shelved projects, treaties lacking implementation, and mutual recrimination. The small-neighbor versus big-brother syndrome that pervades relations in every sphere invariably arouses suspicion of unequal benefits. In this context the West Seti Hydroelectric Project in far western Nepal, the biggest energy generation project, was also stymied for more than a decade. This Project’s fate was put on balance with a non-governmental organization moving the Supreme Court, alleging the Project would help India at Nepal’s expense, and asking the Court to stop it since it was “illegal” and went against “national interests”. The Court’s ruling, touching broadly upon the issues of national, international, and environmental laws, established a precedent of significant value which will impact if not reshape the nature of cooperative development in the region.
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