Water: Asia's New Battleground

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Georgetown University Press, 2011 - Law - 400 pages
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Winner of the Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz 2012 Book Award

The battles of yesterday were fought over land. Those of today are over energy. But the battles of tomorrow may be over water. Nowhere is that danger greater than in water-distressed Asia.

Water stress is set to become Asia's defining crisis of the twenty-first century, creating obstacles to continued rapid economic growth, stoking interstate tensions over shared resources, exacerbating long-time territorial disputes, and imposing further hardships on the poor. Asia is home to many of the world's great rivers and lakes, but its huge population and exploding economic and agricultural demand for water make it the most water-scarce continent on a per capita basis. Many of Asia's water sources cross national boundaries, and as less and less water is available, international tensions will rise. The potential for conflict is further underscored by China's unrivaled global status as the source of transboundary river flows to the largest number of countries, ranging from India and Vietnam to Russia and Kazakhstan; yet a fast-rising China has declined to enter into water-sharing or cooperative treaties with these states, even as it taps the resources of international rivers.

Water: Asia's New Battleground is a pioneering study of Asia's murky water politics and the relationships between fresh water, peace, and security. In this unique and highly readable book, Brahma Chellaney expertly paints a larger picture of water across Asia, highlights the security implications of resource-linked territorial disputes, and proposes real strategies to avoid conflict and more equitably share Asia's water resources.

 

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This highly insightful, interdisciplinary book is the winner of the 2012 Bernard Schwartz Award by the Asia Society, New York. It is little surprise that the jury conferred the prestigious award on this lucidly written, well-researched book that breaks new ground.

Contents

Introduction
1
Global Water Crisis Hub
8
2 Murky Hydropolitics
47
The Worlds Most Unique Water Repository
95
A Key Test Case
141
5 Managing Intrastate Water Conflicts
198
6 Mitigating Intercountry Water Disputes or Discord
243
Forestalling Bloodletting over Water
297
Appendixes
311
Notes
315
About the Author
363
Index
365
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Brahma Chellaney, one of India's leading strategic thinkers and analysts, is a professor at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the foreign minister of India, and as an adviser to India's National Security Council. He has held appointments at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, Johns Hopkins University, and the Australian National University. He is the author of five previous books, including Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan.