Hydro-politics and competing interests for water security on sharing river of the Brahmaputra between India and China
MD Najibullah Singakhongbam
The trans-boundary river like the Brahmaputra originating in Tibet (China) and flowing through India and Bangladesh provides significant water resources in the Brahmaputra basin. The management of the Brahmaputra creates implications for the security of water, food and energy in the region. Hydro-politics for water security comes into play for water security as the Brahmaputra stands as centre point of water conflicts between India and China in terms of power politics and reluctance of transparency and information sharing between them. As both countries experience increasing water scarcity, their competition for controlling and accessing more water resources tends to intensify as water resource is also associated with country’s economic growth, rise of living standards, population growth and demands for factories and industries. Hydro-political complexes emerge in the Brahmaputra basin as India and China have strategic, economic and security considerations on one hand and efforts to promote political stability, regional security and environmental sustainability on the other hand as Brahmaputra flows through the territory of Arunachal Pradesh which is contested by China. Consequently, both countries intend to exploit more water resources and have also initiated construction activities like hydropower dams, infrastructure projects in the Brahmaputra basin along the border areas. The potential water conflicts, if not addressed without an effective working mechanism, would pose a serious challenge in India-China relations. Therefore, this study aims to first identify the driving forces for hydro-politics on sharing Brahmaputra River between India and China along with examining the theory of hydro-hegemony and principles applying in the trans-boundary water relations. It will also attempt to bring into discussion of water cooperation and challenges and finally analyse the competing interests for both India and China on Brahmaputra with respect to their economic, political and strategic perspectives. This first section of this paper briefly introduces the importance of the Brahmaputra, hydro-politics and growing interests in its water resources. The second and third sections of the paper highlight research objectives and methodology and discuss the theories and principles applicable in the trans-boundary water relations. The fourth and fifth sections examine the water cooperation and constraints in improving water interaction between India and China. The sixth section looks closely at the analysis of competing interests on shared river of Brahmaputra from the view of India and China. And the last section of the paper presents conclusion and way forward that India and China can involve in strengthening and enhancing water interaction for water security, stability and sustainability.
MD Najibullah Singakhongbam. Hydro-politics and competing interests for water security on sharing river of the Brahmaputra between India and China. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, Volume 8, Issue 4, 2022, Pages 82-88