International Conflict over Water Resources in Himalayan Asia

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He is a geographer specializing in environmental and non-state security threats. His research interests include the role of multilateral institutions in the international system, as well as US foreign policy in the Middle East.

International Conflict over Water Resources in Himalayan Asia

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Across the world, climate change is sparking conflict as people struggle over dwindling resources. The fight over water could quickly escalate between India and Pakistan — and both have nuclear arms. But while much of the focus on climate change-attributed conflict has predominantly been on Africa and the Middle East, a potentially even deadlier clash over resources may be looming on the horizon in Asia.

The two countries have a long but strained agreement over sharing water from the Indus River and its tributaries.

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Pakistan was granted rights to most of the water in the region's western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — which flow through Indian-administered Kashmir. Both countries claim the whole region, but each only controls a part of it. While the IWT has managed to survive the wars and other hostilities, it is increasingly being strained to its limit. Pakistan has accused India of throttling its water supply and violating the IWT by constructing dams over the rivers flowing into Pakistan from Kashmir.

Dr. Ravi Chopra on Himalayan Water Resources IMISMD Summit 2 Part ophvewcahelthe.cf4

Parts of the vital Indus River in Pakistan, seen here in November , have been reduced to a trickle. And while Pakistan was considered relatively plentiful with water, a mixture of mismanaged irrigation, water-intensive agriculture and climate change has reduced the Indus to a trickle in parts.

International Conflict over Water Resources in Himalayan Asia | SpringerLink

A report from the International Monetary Fund ranked Pakistan third among countries facing severe water shortages. In , India came close to tearing up the IWT. It blamed Pakistani militants for an attack on Indian army personnel in Indian-administered Kashmir in September of that year. And then they would be relying on food imports at a time when their population is exploding.

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So that particular incident was really dangerous. Nesbit, whose book 'This is the Way the World Ends' deals in part with the Pakistan-India water disputes, said it has the potential to become the most deadly climate change-attributed conflict in the world. And when the same thing happened in Somalia, Somalia is quite poor, so it breeds domestic terrorism, it breeds the collapse of civil government, but it doesn't trigger the kind of regional nuclear confrontation that an India-Pakistan war would.

There's one factor which may keep India from acting on threats to cut off Pakistan's access to the Indus waters, according to Nesbit: China. Elsewhere in Asia, other conflicts have also been linked to climate change. The military junta is still in power to this day. On a global level, Janani Vivekananda, climate security expert at consultancy Adelphi, is somewhat more hopeful about how the struggle over water will play out.


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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, addressing the drought in the state of New South Wales, which produces one-quarter of the country's agricultural output, said, "Now we are the land of drought. Ethiopia has been suffering from ongoing drought conditions since , causing massive food shortages. The Ethiopian government said that some 8.

How India and Pakistan are competing over the mighty Indus river

Furthermore, the drought threatens to end traditional nomadic herding in the region. Conservation and late-season rains saved South Africa's Cape Town from an apocalyptic Day Zero scenario, in which water would have to be turned off and emergency rations issued, The drought, which was one of the worst in decades, emptied water reservoirs and caused some experts to suggest hauling icebergs from Antarctica avert a crisis. Europe's sweltering heat has been compounded by a lack of rain. Not only have citizens been suffering the health consequences, which affect health care systems and labor productivity, crops have also been hit hard.

Farmers across the continent fear bankruptcy due to poor crops and the EU Joint Research Center predicts "an increase in drought frequency and intensity in the future.

Greece has been facing the dual problem of flash flooding in some regions and drought in others. His recent research focuses primarily on the politics and diplomacy of natural resources water and energy in South Asia. He is a geographer specializing in environmental and non-state security threats.

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His research interests include the role of multilateral institutions in the international system, as well as US foreign policy in the Middle East. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Palgrave Macmillan UK.