Water: Asia's New Battleground Hardcover – Aug 1 2011
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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 A well-written book which uses relatively clear and sophisticated language while still remaining accessible to readers without prior knowledge of the subject. Pacific Affairs 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 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 Chellaney's new book is an exhaustive study of a narrow, but vital, aspect of the Asian security landscape: the growing struggle for water resources. Financial Times Ranging widely across the region, this forcefully written study warns of a growing risk of interstate conflicts over water. The only way to avoid such outcomes, Chellaney argues, is to adopt a cooperative, rules-based approach to water management. Foreign Affairs The author provides a comprehensive analysis of the roots of the Asian water crisis, combing hydrology, global politics, and cultural history. Fortunately, Chellaney offers potential policy solutions. Choice A valuable contribution to a subject that still receives too little attention when power politics are discussed. Contemporary Southeast Asia Water will undoubtedly cause most readers to look at the world differently... tells an immensely important story and Chellaney has myriad facts at his fingertips." Commonweal Magazine This book is a gem. Environmental Education
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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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