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Dust-­‐‑up  over  the   Brahmaputra:  India,  China  &   the  Impending  Encounter  of   River  Diversion  Mega-­‐‑ Schemes Parallel Session: “Water: a fault line of international conflict in the 21st century?” INTERNATIONAL WATER SECURITY CONFERENCE University of Oxford 16-18 April 2012


WATER  PEACE  ADVOCACY •  “No nations have gone to war specifically over water resources for thousands of years. International water disputes – even among fierce enemies – are resolved peacefully, …. Because water is so important, nations cannot afford to fight over it. Instead, water fuels greater interdependence”. Aaron T. Wolf, Director of the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database, “Water Can Be a Pathway to Peace, Not War”, Navigating Peace 1 (July 2006), pp. 1-2.


WATER  WAR  ADVOCACY

China  has  made  water  the  newest   weapon  in  its  political  armor.  If   China  actually  goes  ahead  with   the  proposed  diversion  of   Brahmaputra  waters  to  the   parched  north,  “it  would   constitute  the  declaration  of  a   water  war  on  lower-­‐‑riparian  India   and  Bangladesh”.

Brahma  Chellaney,  author  of  Water:  Asia’s  New  Ba/leground  (Georgetown  University  Press,   2011)


FIVE  REASONS  TO   CONSIDER  THE   BRAHMAPUTRA  RIVER   A  POTENTIAL  WATER   FLASHPOINT


Reason  #1   Growth  in  Himalayan   Asia’s  Supply-­‐‑Demand   Gap  in  Fresh  Water   Resources  Is   Unprecedented


Reason  #2   Extraction  of  Surface  &   Ground  Waters  Is   Increasing   Exponentially


Reason  #3   China  &  India  Have  a   History  of  Warfare,  an   UnseVled  Border   Dispute,  Strategic   Rivalry  +  Distrust   Arising  from  China’s   Upstream  Advantage.


Map  of  Arunachal   Pradesh/South  Tibet


Reason  #4   China  Has  Begun   Building  a  Cascade  of   Hydropower  Dams  on  the   Brahmaputra  &  Is  Eyeing   It  for  River  Diversion  …   As  Is  India


Reason  #5   There  Are  No  Water-­‐‑ sharing  Treaties  Between   China  &  India  to  Stabilize   Riparian  Relations,  &   Both  Resist  Legal  &   Institutional  Frameworks   Fostering  Cooperation


1997  Convention  on  the  Law  of   the  Non-­‐‑Navigational  Uses  of   International  Watercourses Voted  against China Absent/Abstained India,  Pakistan,   Afghanistan,   Myanmar,   Bhutan Voted  for Bangladesh,  Nepal Ratifications  needed: 35 Ratifications  received: 24  (69%)


Dust-up over the Brahmaputra