chapter  12
16 Pages

China–India river-water conflicts

Toward a solution through launching a cooperation spiral
WithSebastian Biba

The management of shared river water has in recent years turned into one of the hottest and most intricate issues in China–India relations. Even serious academic writings have suggested that while it is unlikely that China and India will fight over water, such a possibility cannot be completely ruled out. Meanwhile, Sino-Indian diplomatic initiatives over shared water resources have seemingly reached an impasse. Against this troubling background, the chapter seeks to elaborate on a fresh way forward. Specifically, it suggests that one promising, albeit highly demanding, approach toward deeper levels of water-related cooperation between the two sides is the launch of a “cooperation spiral.” The idea behind such a spiral is to build trust and confidence over time through the use of a number of gradual, reciprocal, and compromise-minded cooperation measures leading the way toward a comprehensive, fair, and legally-binding Sino-Indian water treaty.