The eye catching headlines are familiar. “Water Wars” are imminent or already underway in the latest drought or dam-building hotspot. Such “wars” often extend to farmers battling over irrigation diversions, but at times countries are the players. Senior leaders are often quoted suggesting transboundary water theft constitutes a casus belli. Security officials are obliged to investigate.
India, as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to environmental change, is at the undeniable centre of various discourses relating to the impact of environmental changes on human security and conflicts driven, or exacerbated, by the exploitation of natural resources. India also has the potential to promote stability and peace through sustainable development and environmental cooperation. Integral to adelphi’s project – “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) – these issues have been dealt with at length on numerous occasions and on a host of platforms. As the ECC exhibition travelled to Manipal University (a university that commands a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east) the primary focus has been to examine the realities on the ground realities and to integrate these into the larger national and international frameworks of climate diplomacy and environmental governance.
Due to its geography, Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable nations in the world. Millions of Bangladeshis are already facing pressing challenges from erratic weather conditions that severely damage infrastructure and farmland, threatening their livelihoods.
Border disputes continue to overshadow China-India cooperation over the Yarlung Zangbo, but a more positive approach from China will help.
India and China’s much-publicised agreement last week claims to strengthen cooperation on shared rivers, supposedly allaying Indian fears over new dams.
As the international community observed the UN World Water Day last Friday, March 22, two Central Asian countries were part of important talks at UN Headquarters in New York concerning water-sharing.