Political Science Answer Writing Practice - Week 10 - Question 2
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 05-Feb-2018
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05-Feb-2018 - Question 2
River water disputes are emerging as a major source of irritation between India and its neighbours. Identify the sources of conflicts and suggest remedial measures. 250 words. 2015
India along with some other countries of Asia, are not very far from being classified as water scarce nations, with less than 1,000 cubic metres per persons per year being available. The situation is more or less similar for other emerging economies of Bangladesh, China and Pakistan, who are also in a precarious situation, and are highly susceptible to water stress in the near future. As a result, it is often argued by many that there is a serious possibility that present water interests/disputes and scarcity, if not resolved, could one day transform or lead into a potential flashpoint/security risk within the Asian subcontinent.
India and Pakistan Water Conflicts/Flashpoints:
Both countries signed an accord called the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960, which clearly determined how the region s rivers are to be divided. In this treaty, control over three eastern rivers of the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej was given to India, while Pakistan got the control over western rivers of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. Climate change also has begun to have a serious impact on the outflow of water resources in Pakistan, which has more or less crippled the economy and the society of the nation as a whole. The source or flow of all of the Pakistan s rivers passes through India first, so this naturally provides India with an upper hand in controlling the outflow of these rivers. This in turn makes Pakistan more suspicious of any dam project or any activity that is carried out by India upstream of the western rivers. Pakistan is further considering arbitration to clear out the differences with India over dam projects which are underway on the Indus and Jhelum River. Although, it is difficult to predict if India and Pakistan will actually go to a war to settle their water disputes, however one thing is for certain, the differences between the two nations related to water resources, are ultimately making it harder for long-time rivals to put their enmity behind them.
India and China Water Conflicts/Flashpoints
China is the world s most prolific builders of hydropower dams, and is further the source of ten major rivers flowing to eleven countries. Therefore, it is not surprising that its neighbours downstream live in the constant fear that Beijing has a tight grip on Asia s tight water tap . both the countries are rapidly growing economies, and are competing for the access to the same yet limited water resources within the Asian subcontinent. China s lack of usable water resources is already causing a significant shortfall in the annual GDP, and the situation could further worsen with the persistent economic growth, and through the negative effects that are related to climate change within China. India on the other hand, with a projected population of 1.4 billion by 2050, is also predicted to be water-scarce roughly during the same time. With both China and India having their own reasons to fear the increasing water shortages, conflicts in the near future can/may take place, if such issues are not resolved at the earliest.
India and Bangladesh Water Conflicts/Flashpoints
India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers between them. Despite the setting up of a Joint River Commission for water management as early as 1972, tensions between both the countries on how to share resources has always been a matter of concern. The construction of the Farakka barrage in 1975 in West Bengal (close to Indo- Bangladesh border) led to serious frictions between both the nations. Tensions between India and Bangladesh have resurfaced once again on how to share the water resources over the Teesta River in 2012. The Teesta River which has its source in Sikkim, flows through the northern part of West Bengal in India, before it enters into Bangladesh, from where it merges with the Brahmaputra River. In 1983, an ad-hoc water sharing agreement was reached between India and Bangladesh, whereby both countries were allocated 39 percent and 36 percent of the water flow respectively.
India and Nepal Water Conflicts/Flashpoints
The 2008 Bihar floods when the Kosi embankment near the Indo-Nepal border broke on August 18, 2008, causing the river to change its course. It affected over 2.3 million people, destroyed 300,000 homes and 800,000 acres of cropland in north Bihar. Going by the experts opinion, this tragedy was allowed to happen. Since 1954, when the Kosi Agreement was signed between India and Nepal, talks between the two governments have stalled and water rights issues have not been addressed. As a result, the first dam had remained neglected for decades and a proposed partnership for a second dam didn t take off. Nepal, which is reeling under poor sanitation and power blackouts every day, intends to find a place as a hydropower hub of Asia. The country is exploring opportunities to provide for its own power needs as well as those of its neighbours.
Recommendations: Water Scarcity Situation
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Water Convention that came up in 1992 that intends to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of the trans boundary surface waters and ground waters, till 2007, has only been ratified by fifteen countries around the world. The rest of the countries have either not taken a stand, or have rejected this proposal completely. During the time of water scarcity, countries around the world should instead cooperate and share, rather than compete with each other which will benefit no one in particular. Therefore, more and more countries ratifying this convention and becoming part of the global community in the near future, would ultimately help everyone in their task of preserving the limited water resources around the world. Joint programmes of water linking projects should be launched with the cooperation of countries, which will require minimum input of resources to be incorporated with the project, while the final output and gains will be substantial for everyone to enjoy.