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Sino‐Indian water disputes: the coming water wars?

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As water scarcity in both China and India worsens, the competition over shared water resources in their transboundary rivers, particularly the Brahmaputra River, is set to intensify. Without an effective working mechanism between the two countries, water conflicts could potentially become a serious challenge to Sino‐Indian relations. Nonetheless, the water wars narrative, which is gaining steam in India, is being overstated. This article argues that the major supporting arguments of the water wars narrative are very weak. To begin with, China has no plan to divert waters from Brahmaputra River. Second, even if China could successfully divert water from the Brahmaputra River, its impacts on the downstream countries will be rather limited. Third, China is not a water hegemon. Rather, it is becoming more willing to cooperate with neighboring countries regarding transboundary rivers. WIREs Water 2016, 3:155–166. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1123 This article is categorized under: Human Water > Rights to Water

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