September 14: Water: Asia's New Battleground

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September 14, 2011: Brahma Chellaney

(Click to enlarge) From left to right: Dr. Brahma Challaney, a professor at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, discusses the connections between water competition and conflict in Asia with Dr. Mark Borthwick at the East-West Center in Washington.

Water: Asia's New Battleground

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011) 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. As Dr. Brahma Chellaney described at the launch of his new book, Water: Asia's New Battleground, at the East-West Center in Washington, high economic and population growth in Asia is leading to a spiraling demand for water as water intensive industries spread and standards of living rise. Many of Asia's water sources cross national boundaries, and as less and less water is available, international tensions will rise. Extensive irrigation, pollution, and global warming add massive strain to a system already short on water thanks to Asia’s rapidly expanding economies, surging populations, and a growing middle class. Dr. Chellaney lead a discussion based on his new book, a pioneering study of Asia's murky water politics and the relationships between freshwater, peace, and security. He described the larger picture of water across Asia, highlighting the security implications of resource-linked territorial disputes, and proposed strategies to avoid conflict and more equitably share Asia's water resources- particularly the need for better hydropolitics through the region.

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 Water: Asia's New Battleground (Georgetown University Press, 2011) along with five previous books, including Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan (HarperCollins, 2010). His scholarly articles have appeared in numerous journals including International Security, Orbis, and Survival. He is a regular op-ed contributor to the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, and the Japan Times, and an occasional contributor to the Financial Times and the New York Times. In 1985, he won a Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club (OPC), New York. ###