China “With almost a quarter of its landclassified as desert, China ranks as the world’s most arid country.” “An estimated 300 million people in China have limited supply of water” (Sinha, 2011, p. 422).
China“The south has a lot of water, the north little… if possible, it is okay to lend a little water.” – Mao Zedong
China and India“Water is becoming a key security issuein Sino-Indian relations and a potential source of enduring discord.” “China and India are water-stressed economies” (Chellaney, 2009, p. 38).
Tibet “It has also been called ‘The ThirdPole’ because next to the North and South Poles, its glaciers contain thelargest volume of fresh frozen water on earth” (Borges, 2013, p. 114).
Tibet “More importantly, it is known as ‘The Water Tower of Asia’ since the rivers flowing out of those glaciers supply nearly a third of the world’spopulation with their water” (Borges, 2013, p. 114).
Tibet“Without Tibet, China’s hydrological supremacy would be overturned from water independence todependence” (Sinha, 2011, p. 423).
History“China has already dammed every major river onthe Tibetan Plateau – including the Mekong, the Salween, the Brahmaputra, the Yangtze, theYellow, the Indus, the Sutlej, the Shwelie and the Karnali” (Chellaney, 2011, p. 308).
Discussion China is considering diverting theBrahmaputra River away from India and into China (Chellaney, 2009, p. 38). What are possible outcomes if China follows through with this plan?
AllocationChina and India will need to negotiate the use of water in the future.“For that to happen, water has to become a source of cooperation, not conflict” (Chellaney, 2009, p. 39).
Trends• Future conflicts will be over water.• As the world population increases, scarcity of water will increase.• Tension between China and India will increase.• Tibet is critically important to China and will remain critically important.• Riparian states will continue to negotiate treaties over water rights.
Water is the driving force of all nature. - Leonardo da Vinci
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References• Borges, P. (2013). Tibet: culture on the edge. World Literature Today, 87(2), 112-117.• Chellaney, B. (2009). Coming water wars. The International Economy, 23(4), 38-39.• Chellaney, B. (2011). Water: Asias new battleground. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 24(2), 307-308.• Sinha, U. K. (2011). China: geopolitics of a thirsty nation. Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, 6(4), 422-436.