The scepter of water conflict is haunting South Asia these days. International and national media may not be propagating it with frenzy, but the concerns are real and they have started to show their affects in the relations between the three major rivals in South Asia: India, Pakistan and China. It has been alleged that China is planning to divert the largest river of India, the Brahmaputra (known as Tsangpo in China) to feed its water-starved population. It is to be noted that India and China have disputes regarding the territorial controls in and around Arunachal Pradesh, through which the mighty Brahmaputra flows.
Further, the construction of Baglihar dam in the Kashmir region near the largest fresh-water lake of India, Wular, by the Indian government has triggered anger and opposition from the already upset Pakistan. The dam is only half-complete, and serves as an awesome sight for tourists because of its colossal size. There is a race between Pakistan and India for construction of dams in Kashmir and ambitious hydro projects are being tabled in the closed boardrooms of both the countries.
While economists, scholars, and think-tanks are divided on the merits or demerits of these dams to respective countries, it is cent percent true that within two or three decades, be it China or Pakistan or India, each will need water to sustain their growing population. Extremists have already issued threats to bomb Indian dams as a response to the alleged encroachment of India in dam projects near contentious areas. It can be convincingly argued that water can be one of the issues to trigger the third world war.
So, is a water bomb going to explode in the decades to come? Well, it is highly likely that countries may fight aggressively for water control; however, if all countries work together and try to carve out a path of cooperation, things can become better. After all, we must not fail to understand that resources are not the ownership of any individual or a state. They have been provided by nature equally free to all of us. The need of the hour is compassion for each other and efficient policy making to avert any dangers of the impending water conflict. Certainly, I would never want to be a part of an era when something natural and free like water becomes the cause of bloodshed. That will be the real nadir of humanity.