Degree Year

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Studies

Committee Member(s)

Swapna Pathak
Md. Rumi Shammin
Laurie Hovell McMillin

Keywords

Climate change, Water, South Asia, Transboundary, River water sharing, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Conflict, National security, Media, Newspapers, Rhetoric, Terrorism, Military conflict

Abstract

The Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau birth ten of Asia’s most prominent rivers providing irrigation, energy, and drinking water to over two billion people across several countries today. Therefore, transboundary water sharing is a constant source of conflict for several South Asian countries that rely on rivers to support their primarily agrarian economies.

In recent years, climate change has drastically increased global temperatures. As a result, the Indian subcontinent has been plagued with extreme riverine flood and drought events.

Climate change-related events like riverine floods and drought, exacerbate the politicization of conflict between nations that share natural resources like water. This politicization is visible in the media coverage of conflict, and the way water-sharing issues are linked with other transboundary conflicts, especially those pertaining to national security. This paper explores the relationship between climate change and water-sharing conflicts in three South Asian nations: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the national media coverage of transboundary river systems, Indus and Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna, this honors thesis explores how climate change affects the politicization of water-sharing conflicts between these three nations.

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