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%)