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Water: Asia's New Battleground [Hardcover]

Brahma Chellaney

Price: CDN$ 32.38 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 3 2011
This title is the winner of the Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz 2012 Book Award. The battles of yesterday were fought over land. Those of today are over energy. But the battles of tomorrow may be over water. Nowhere is that danger greater than in water-distressed Asia. Water stress is set to become Asia's defining crisis of the twenty-first century, creating obstacles to continued rapid economic growth, stoking interstate tensions over shared resources, exacerbating long-time territorial disputes, and imposing further hardships on the poor. Asia is home to many of the world's great rivers and lakes, but its huge population and exploding economic and agricultural demand for water make it the most water-scarce continent on a per capita basis. Many of Asia's water sources cross national boundaries, and as less and less water is available, international tensions will rise. The potential for conflict is further underscored by China's unrivaled global status as the source of transboundary river flows to the largest number of countries, ranging from India and Vietnam to Russia and Kazakhstan; yet a fast-rising China has declined to enter into water-sharing or cooperative treaties with these states, even as it taps the resources of international rivers. Water: Asia's New Battleground is a pioneering study of Asia's murky water politics and the relationships between freshwater, peace, and security. In this unique and highly readable book, Brahma Chellaney expertly paints a larger picture of water across Asia, highlights the security implications of resource-linked territorial disputes, and proposes real strategies to avoid conflict and more equitably share Asia's water resources.

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Review

"A formidable interdisciplinary book. [Chellaney] has done readers a great service in tracking down reams of scholarly information, beautifully knit together, covering a dazzling range of countries and disciples, from Bangladesh to Mongolia, climate change science to regional security doctrine. despite the vast scope of the book, the writing is clear and lively. Its main contribution is in synthesizing the many trickles of the international discussion on Asia and water into one single current." -- The Washington Monthly "This well-researched volume is a fascinating blend of geography, hydrology and politics... A sobering read for those of us residing in Asia, and the weight of its message certainly deserves urgent and widespread attention." -- Asian Review of Books "A book that must be on the desk of every reader interested in global issues that will impact peace, economic development and possible war." -- Cinema Rasik "Masterful, pioneering study...superbly combines a panoramic picture of Asia as a 'global water crisis hub' with detailed case studies of potential water wars." -- Global Asia

About the Author

Brahma Chellaney, one of India's leading strategic thinkers and analysts, is a professor at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the foreign minister of India, and as an adviser to India's National Security Council. He has held appointments at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, Johns Hopkins University, and the Australian National University. He is the author of five previous books, including Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Read July 19 2012
By Richard S. Botkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I consider this to be the most important book I read for geo-political information in 2011. Along with so many other issues folks are concerned about--terrorism, the Middle East, challenges with the European economies, the financial issues in the US, etc--water is one we often forget or fail to consider fully. While this is a very scholarly book and hardly 'light' reading, understanding these issues is vital to one's appreciating the problems with water, particularly as they relate to the way countries in Asia interact with one another and the rest of the world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Factually Revealing and Timely Book Dec 29 2011
By Vakratunda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an important and timely book that brings out facts about Asia that are little known -- that Asia is the world's driest continent; that Asia's water stress holds major economic, social and political implications; that of the 57 transboundary river basins in Asia, only a few have a water-sharing treaty among co-riparian states; that the Tibetan Plateau is the world's largest freshwater repository; and that China is accumulating hydro-leverage against its neighbors by building mega-dams that can control river flows from Tibet and Xinjiang to other countries.

The book is truly a pioneering and multidisciplinary study. It stands out for its easy-to-read style and thorough, unbiased research. In fact, it is the first book to look at water security across Asia, a continent that could shape our future world.

It highlights the importance of building water institutions to avert inter-country or intra-country conflicts at a time when water disputes have become rife in Asia. It lays importance on protecting the interests of vulnerable communities, as well as countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Iraq that are located farthest downstream on international rivers. And it offers concrete ideas and suggestions on how to solve or contain the growing water wrangles within and between nations.
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An India-centric perspective on Asia's regional water challenges Sept. 14 2011
By JayB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Brahma Chellaney is one of India's foremost strategic analysts. This book is a sign of the growing attention to the links between national security and water.

Knowledge on water policy and politics comes from two main sources. First, the vast (and repetitive) outpouring of academic and activist claims, which seldom have much to do with what actually happens on the ground. Second, the actual practice of water policy and politics, most of which is not written down but the core skill of practitioners. (As a wise water diplomat once said "Researchers don't practice and practitioners don't read".) Chellaney draws heavily on the first set of sources for his sections on other countries; and draws heavily on the second when dealing with India and its perspectives.

This contributes to a heavily-distorted lens through which Chellaney views the water challenges of the Himalayas. When dealing with internal challenges in other countries Chellaney paints a picture which exists in Google but bears little relation to reality on the ground. When dealing with international water issues, Chellaney's message is the standard one from a paternalistic and sometimes xenophobic Delhi. At the core stands benevolent, democratic India. "Munificent" India struggles nobly to do good with and for its neighbours. But it has to deal with "reckless China", "jihadi Pakistan" and "immature Bangladesh".

The book is thus of considerable interest -- not because it presents a balanced view, but because it presents a well-crafted view of the way in which New Delhi sees the water world around it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly relevant... a must read for embassy employees May 6 2012
By Kritik - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very useful book in understanding a "player's perspective" on the issue of water security in the most sensitive/reactive part of the world. (in retrospect, there shouldn't be any conflicts if those currently in charge keep doing what they're doing as written in the book)

A diplomat's/statesman's assistant should have this book in their library to understand the prisoner's dilemmas in today's problems of water scarcity/stress.

The writer is biased, which is understandable considering where he grew up and how the dominant player is playing hardball with everybody else.

This book provides enough evidence to improve the quality of life for 200 million people will change dramatically in 40 years-- a grand picnic of eating someone else's lunch.

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