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C3S Issue Brief IV: Geopolitics of Water and Security Implications: Understanding of India-China Tra

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

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C3S Issue Brief: 004/2020

C3S launches its Issue Brief initiative. An Issue Brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarises the issue giving clear, concise and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.

Issue Briefs are available for download as PDFs.


Broadening and widening the scope of security studies includes several non-traditional security threats. These existential threats are included by many scholars to be examined as the security challenges in security studies. Several existential issues and threats such as economic, food, health, political, transnational organized crime, gender, terrorism, and others have been studied by many scholars in contemporary security studies. However, water security has not been fully perceived by many people as a security challenge. It has not been focused systematically that can be securitized in security studies. Therefore, this paper examines water security and its challenges in contemporary security studies. This paper delves into the three levels of the perspective of conceptual analysis where water security pertains to be an emerging security challenge in security studies. The first level focuses on human security perspective dealing with food, health, economic and environmental aspects of the concept of Human Security. Second level deals with the understanding of water as the source of intra-state as well as the inter-state conflict that may escalate into a hot war. Lastly, water security is looked into the geopolitical perspective particularly how water plays a key role in shaping the diplomatic and strategic interests of riparian states.

Assessing this framework into the case of transboundary river water relations between India and China, the paper examines the water sharing relations and illustrates the threat perception to both countries. The water diversion project of China and other policies or activities in the shared rive become the major concerns for India particularly in terms of human security and geopolitical terms. Besides, the Chinese attitude towards less and no cooperation with the government of India indicates the political instability and regional conflict predict in the region.

Read the full PDF at this link: 

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About the Author

 Japungsar Basumatary is a research intern at the Chennai Centre for China Studies. He is a Research Scholar at Security Studies, School of National Security Studies, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. Views expressed are personal.

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