Disputes regarding sharing of water of transnational rivers are highly driven by resource constraints. Explain with special reference to some water sharing disputes in South Asia.

Water issue is a major bone of contention in interstate relations. South Asia is no away from this issue as South Asia a water-stressed region. South Asia faces growing population, industrial, agricultural and domestic uses, glaciers are melting and environment is degrading. This is making water issue a major cause of concern in this region. South Asia has four major rivers basins – Brahmaputra, Indus, Ganges and the Meghna which provide livelihood to millions of people. Water disputes is South Asia covers India-Pakistan, India-Bangladesh, India-Nepal and India-China.
With respect to India-Pakistan over water issue, population is ever increasing in both the countries and resources are no sufficient enough to meet the demands. Water is the most important resource factor for any development. Dams are constructed over rivers such as the Baglihar, Kishanganga and Wullar. Each side is trying to retard the progress in the name of any sort of environmental degradation or diversion of waters which will lead to shortage in water for either of the country.
When it comes to India and Bangladesh, both countries have issues over the sharing of Ganges, Brahmaputra and eight other rivers. Sharing of the waters of Feni, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharala and Dudhkumar rivers is also creating problems between Bangladesh and India. Also, the conflict between India and Bangladesh revolves around the Tipaimukh Dam over Barak river.
When it comes to India-Nepal issue, the major problem behind the water issue stems from the political mistrust. Nepal is the upper riparian state. As an upper riparian country, Nepal has issues with the projects proposed by India.
With respect to India and Sri-Lanka, issues do not revolve around specified water outlets. Instead their disputes are based on fishery.
However, when it comes to India-Bhutan, there are no such issues between the two nations. Therefore, this should be taken as an example by all other South Asian countries and attempts must be made to solve the existing water disputes with India and promote harmony and peace in the region.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"Disputes regarding sharing of water of transnational rivers are highly driven by resource constraints". Explain with special reference to some water sharing disputes in South Asia.

Published: January 5, 2017 | Modified:June 22, 2019

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