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Water, the next battleground between India and China: Editorial

With the Conference of Parties-15 (COP-15) climate change meeting concluding recently in Copenhagen, Denmark, on a less than satisfactory note, an editorial in a journal on socialist thought and action has urged India, one of the emerging key players in global warming deliberations to reassess geographical implications and think of the morrow.

The editorial, which appears in The Other Side, says that there already been dire warnings from many quarters about the depletion of water tables and melting glaciers, and therefore, it would a good idea to refocus attention on the more than 30,000 glaciers that dot the Tibetan Plateau to end this shortage and prevent China from acquiring indiscriminate control of this valuable region, often referred to as “The Third Pole”.

“The world is talking about water resources, global warming and climate change. There have been dire warnings from many quarters about depletion of water tables and melting glaciers… The recent tensions between China and India have centered on Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh. The Indus flows into Ladakh from Tibet where the Chinese recently stopped Indian road development. The Siachen Glacier in Kashmir is within China’s span of vision. The most obvious natural resource that dominates these areas is water, either in the form of glaciers or might flowing rivers. It is amply clear that as fossil fuel based resources deplete rapidly, the power held by countries (read China) possessing them will decrease,” says the editorial.

“Water will be the next resource to fight for and local wars are already on in many manifestations,” the editorial adds.

As far as India and China are concerned, the issue of water control could emerge as a hot spot for both countries in the near future.

The time is ripe to study why China can live with the two-China theory, and yet brutally oppress Tibetans who only want cultural and religious autonomy, says the editorial.

From India’s perspective, its security is inextricably linked to Tibet in terms of having access to and control of the world’s most precious resource - water. India, the editorial says must get away from the hype and hoopla of the Copenhagen meeting.

As a footnote, the editorial also reveals a historic Canadian document of circa 1950 which reveals that China’s claim of sovereignty over Tibet is not well-founded.

The document says: “Chinese suzerainty, perhaps existent, though ill-defined, before 1911, appears since then, on the basis of facts available to us; to have been a mere fiction. In fact, during the past 40 years (1910-50), Tibet has controlled its own internal and external affairs. Viewing the situation thus, I am of the opinion that Tibet is, from the point of view of international law, qualified for recognition as an independent state.” (ANI)

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