China, a River, and Asia’s Water Future

English: Yarlung Zangbo River (also known as T...

English: Yarlung Zangbo River (also known as Tsangpo River and Yarlung Tsangpo River) in Tibet, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Managing the Rise of a Hydro-Hegemon in Asia: China’s Strategic Interests in the Yarlung-Tsangpo River
Jesper Svensson
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

At some point this century, water will join fossil fuels as a scarce resource. An emerging point of tension lies between the world’s two most populous countries, India and China, and others lie anywhere a river flows from China to another country.

In this pithy analysis, the author looks at the specific case of one river shared by China, India, and Bangladesh and how it is an indicator of China’s future behavior in the region. Svensson’s prediction is bleak: he is convinced that despite cooperative noises, China will dam the river without consulting its neighbors if it makes economic sense for Beijing to do so.

The implications for the citizens of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state and the farmers of Bangladesh are immense, but, as the author points out, the entire region, if not the world, should be watching China’s behavior on this picturesque watercourse.

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