GUWAHATI, Nov 3 - Dr Lobsang Sangay, president of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (officially known as Central Tibetan Administration), today said that China is likely to monopolise control over the vast water resources originating in Tibet causing acute water scarcity in the downstream regions like India’s Northeast and Bangladesh. Addressing a press conference held as part of the 4th Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum-2017 organised by the Balipara Foundation, Dr Sangay said the international community would do well to take the matter seriously and exert pressure on China for judicious use and sharing of river water with other nations.
“Growing water shortage is a reality and water is going to be a major cause of discontentment among nations across the world in the coming decades. There are indications that China is trying to divert water from rivers like the Brahmaputra. A water crisis is clearly looming large in South Asia with China is increasingly trying to assert its control over Tibet’s vast water resources, which are also set to witness a drastic decrease as glaciers are melting due to global warming and climate change,” he said.
Terming Tibet as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’, Dr Sangay said that Tibet’s freshwater sources, which account for the source of 10 major rivers, are feeding a large part of the Asian population and any attempt at monopolising it would trigger discontent and unrest.
“China, too, is under compulsion to feed its people with water, but a judicious solution in the best interest of all nations that share common rivers, needs to be evolved. The international community, including nations dependent on Tibet’s water, must play a key role in it. China being a global economic and military power should be responsible and responsive, more so if it wants to earn global respect and goodwill,” he added.
Pointing out that Chinese environmentalists were also concerned about the fragile nature of the Tibetan
geology and ecology and the water resources they sustain, Dr Sangay said tinkering with the millions-year-old river systems is fraught with danger. “The Chinese environmentalists are also worried over the future of Tibet’s water resources due to global warming as well as other man-made factors that can hasten the process of water depletion. They have called for declaring Tibet as the Third Pole National park,” he said.
About 50 per cent of Tibet’s glaciers had already disappeared and that two-thirds of the remaining 46,000 glaciers could vanish by 2100. “This is a grim situation and all nations must work concertedly to find a solution,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Sangay delivered a lecture on ‘World Peace, Role of India and Future of Tibet’ at Gauhati University.