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Brahmaputra River and Possibilities of Conflicts on Water Scarcity

Water has been essentially important for human beings for centuries onwards and many of the civilizations were built nearby the rivers, seas, or source of water in the history of mankind. As far as the world has become older, the need for natural resources is getting much more essential, in that, people are getting consumers more and natural resources are getting vital in order to sustain what is needed in our lives. The more we as human beings who are always spending the natural resources according to our interests, the more our world has been faced with problems. For instance, the wars which are dramatically because of our as people of some nation’s selfish expectations. Furthermore, as we are living in a global age, the problems of a country within a region do not staying there and they eventually affect all around the world in somehow. Waves of a problem which is far from the location where you are at right now can be the end for you even you live in an island or not. In doing so, Brahmaputra River is a competitive for three countries beside it by following: China, India, and Bangladesh because of the possible energy resource from the river and water is supplied for countries where the Brahmaputra River is flowing across their borders. Then, there emerge questions for instance, “Why is it essential for global world?” or “How could it be possible to make a conflict between the major three countries: China, India, and Bangladesh because of a river?” In this paper, it will be briefly examine that the risk of conflict between China and India, in doing so, the rise of a danger from the region across the globe as a threat of war.
Key Words: Brahmaputra – Water – Drought – China – India

First, as it is shown on the map, the Brahmaputra River flows from Tibet, after it hydrates the Southern part of Tibet. It comes across the Eastern part of India and finally it flows into Bay of Bengal from Bangladesh. Therefore, the Brahmaputra is one of the longest and the largest rivers of the world. It has the ability to be resource for sustainable energy, and also the need for water can be coverable from it. In addition, China, India, and Bangladesh are representing three of the ten most populous nations in the world (Samaranayake, 2018). Any conflict between these countries can be threats for their citizen and to have huge security inferences. Therefore it is important for the region because the global warming and climate change immediately affects and corrupts the water resources. On the other hand, the World Bank vice president Ismail Sarageldin has said that “The next world war will be over water” (Sunil, 2018). In fact, this does not seem ideal if the studies on the water projects of China is reliable. India and China have border conflict after People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, British colonialism wanted to set up an artificial border between China and India as it is seen in the Middle Eastern countries’ border. However, they have rejected the condition when they got independence from colonial master and they have always been in conflict among the border issue. For instance, Himalayas where both parties stake out a claim on. Balance of power between China and India is getting competitive in the millennium age, too. Therefore, the danger for tension in the relations is getting significance for a decade. In this regard, there emerged alliances inevitably. For instance, the US which does not want any competitor to its hegemony all across the globe is getting closer relationship with India and New Delhi is becoming more self-confident, also Pakistan is becoming a strategic partner for China in the region by cooperation on the projects. China and Silk Road Economic Zone (SREZ) which started to connect the land to European countries; China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia will be held in conjunction with several country roads and road connections aims to reach European countries (Istikbal, 2019). In addition to this project, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the most important elements of the Silk Road Economic Zone and Pakistan beside with China also because of enemy of my enemy is my friend understanding which represents India as an enemy of Pakistan among Kashmir conflict here (Korkmaz, 2019). Because the relations between the US and Pakistan is not as better as in which India is supported by them, so IMF problem in Pakistan could be solved by the support of China by this CPEC project from Pakistan’s point of view.
Second, China has dams and hydro-electric projects on Brahmaputra river which is called Yarlung Zangbo in China might cause destroying the river flows to India and Bangladesh. In doing so, there might be a water scarcity which means the dried Brahmaputra. Firstly, China began generating electricity from Tibet’s (Xigaze as an alternative name of Tibet Autonomous Region) biggest hydropower project in late 2014. Lalho Project is one of the dams project of China in Tibet on the Brahmaputra River. From Indians point of view, it could be a danger for India because of the decision can be taken to control water flow to India by China. This is also causing to damage the nature of the region by the risk of drought, and also for forests around the river. There is no treaty between China and India among the water issue, and this brings possibility to China to do whatever they want.

The map of dams of China on the river also shows how could be effective the dams on the flowing of the water through Tibet Autonomous Region to India. Although, Nepal and Bhutan exist in the region, however, they are not as powerful as the other actors in the region. For instance, Bhutan is a sovereign country, and it has largely been under India’s area of influence and heavily related on New Delhi for military protection. In fact, bank materials of the Brahmaputra are mostly composed of varying proportions of fine sand and silt, with only the occasional presence of minor amounts of clay which is generally less than 5% (Bandyopadhyay, 2013). Therefore, as experts says high moisture content and low portion of clay with good species of bank materials make the Brahmaputra River sensitive to erosion. In this regard, the dams could damage the nature of the region and the erosion could be effective on damaging the climate and global warming, too. Bangladesh is one of the countries that are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the potential impacts of climate change on natural hazards such as cyclones, storm surges, flooding and saline intrusion have already been established (Sarker, Thorne, Aktar, Ferdous, 2013). Furthermore, the most essential thing is to save the Brahmaputra River for the future as better as it was in the past. Otherwise, the situation will become a danger for global warming and water scarcity both in the region and across the world.
Third, some experts on climate change and management on disasters can offer solutions for the capability to prevent crisis. For instance, increased capacity to manage extreme weather events can reduce the magnitude of economic, social, and human damage and eventually, investments, in terms of borrowing money from the lending agencies (Mirza, 2003). There need to be sustainable policies on climate change and extreme weather conditions, especially in the developing countries. Our first responsibility should be to save our world as human beings those in the road to same way at the end. In addition, the world is facing with the pandemic which caused 2,015,946 (Worldometer, 2021) people to die, shows also how a disease can be effective to the end even across the borders. Possibility of a new world war might be the result of water scarcity if the necessary measurements could not be found. Long story short, there is no other place to live in at least not seeable for 50 years onwards without the world, we as humankinds must protect our home and we should try to fix the damages as soon as possible.
To conclude the paper, the Brahmaputra River is one of the longest and the largest rivers of the world, it begins to flow from Tibet Autonomous Region through the Eastern part of India, Bangladesh, and finally the Bay of Bengal. Historically, the relations between China and India were problematic on the issues of border where Himalayas at and after the establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949. The British colonialism left them questionable on the border issue, so this has brought the problem even today. China is utilizing the Brahmaputra River to generate electricity from Tibet. The current problem between China and India which are one of the most populous countries of the world came across on the water problem. They are armed with heavy materials, and a possible conflict between them can be effective also for the entire world because the US as a competitive of China supports New Delhi, and Pakistan as a strategic partner of China in the region has been in conflict with India for years. Therefore, potential threat for India seems much bigger than to China because the dams projects China has done on the river can be a blackmail for India in the long term as such to cut off the flowing. In addition, the dams projects are very dangerous for water scarcity, and drought in the region. The risk of erosion which is caused by the climate change and global warming is also a danger replacing the old good days in the future. The policymakers should co-operate with the experts of both climate change and the security affairs because of any threat which could be coming from the giant countries of the Asia.


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