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Tibetan Plateau's Melting Glaciers May Affect South Asian Regional Security: Report

According to a report in Hamrakura, melting glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau can result in excess water in some areas and scarcity in others. Melting glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau may also have an impact on regional security.

Shivam Dwivedi
Changes in water supply could lead to conflict between countries
Changes in water supply could lead to conflict between countries

According to the report, water-related problems are growing rapidly, particularly in Asia, which is home to more than half of the world's population, and changes in water supply, as suggested by current research, will impact Asia's water security in the future due to climate change. According to Hamrakura, there is no clear consensus among nations on how to deal with and mitigate the effects of natural disasters that affect infrastructure and agriculture.


Water resource imbalances are expected to increase water insecurity in downstream areas because most South Asian nations, particularly low-lying riparian countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, rely on shared water resources for development, food production, and drinking. According to the news report, changes in water supply could lead to conflict between these countries because the Tibetan Plateau is an important source of water for many people in the region, including China, India, and Nepal.

According to international research, most river water supplies will be depleted by 2050. Furthermore, it could exacerbate the region's humanitarian, economic, security, and environmental problems, according to the report, which added that China has no autonomous transboundary river policy regarding the 'upstream powerhouse'. According to the report, Beijing has not signed water-sharing agreements or international transboundary water treaties with its neighbours, raising concerns among downstream regions about the possibility of conflict over access and control of shared water resources.


"The lack of agreement has resulted in Beijing's mistrust of the multilateral framework for resolving the international dispute. Because many of China's hydroelectric dams are located on rivers such as the Brahmaputra River in Tibet, downstream nations such as India have expressed concern about potential geopolitical and hydropolitical implications," the report continues.

According to the news report, China has invested in the hydropower industries of many of its neighbours, primarily South Asian countries, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, but other countries in the region are concerned about some hydropower projects because they are located near international waterways.

According to Hamrakura, India has raised concerns about some of China's hydropower projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, accusing Beijing of exacerbating water scarcity by implementing large-scale hydro-engineering infrastructure projects upstream of international rivers. India has made investments in hydropower projects in South Asia, primarily in Bhutan and Nepal. These investments have contributed to increased energy availability and economic growth in these countries.


"However, there are concerns about India's impact on these countries' water and power supplies," the report adds. Bhutan's Chukha hydropower project is an example of India's South Asian hydropower investment. The Chukha hydropower project, with a capacity of 336 MW, is the largest hydroelectric project in Bhutan, according to the report, adding that the hydropower project generates electricity that is primarily sold to India, and Bhutan has benefited from its revenues.


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