Things haven’t been going quiet between the two Asian giants recently. India and china were recently involved in a much long standoff in Doklam. And now there is a new problem between Beijing and New Delhi.
India and china share a long border which is mostly lies in the mighty Himalayas. The two neighbours have already fought a war and the border dispute still remains unresolved with tensions remaining high on both the sides.
The two nations also shares a lot of river systems. Of which Indus and Brahmaputra river systems are largest. Both countries have signed a memorandum of understanding which enables them to access the rainfall and river data of the shared river systems. This helps India forecast floods and make necessary arrangements to tackle rise in water level during monsoon.
Beijing has not shared hydrological data this year. Increasing the tension between the two nations. Chinese officials told that that the river data collection stations in the Tibet Autonomous Region had been damaged by floods and needed repairs. This excuse however does not seem legit to India. Bangladeshi officials have confirmed that China has shared hydrological data on river Brahmaputra.
India has already suffered a lot due to floods this year, a swollen Brahmaputra has wreaked havoc in Assam in four waves, killing over 160 people and displacing a large number in 29 districts of the state. India cannot afford loss of life and property at the cost of internal tension with its neighbours.
Floods are not the only concern for India. China has been building some of the world’s largest reservoir on rivers it shares with India. The Chinese officials have been regularly telling that these are only for the purpose of irrigation and power generation but it’s clear that these dams would come in handy in case of a war with India. China could just open these floodgates and India would be burdened with disaster management reducing its focus from frontline.
The Chinese plan is to hit India where it’s weak. India needs to strike back. The best way would be to approach china directly to have a water sharing treaty like we have with Pakistan. And international forums should be reached if the dragon is not ready to come to the negotiation table.