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Clashing Titans:

India and China And

the future of Asia's Water


June 16, 2020

While skirmishes over the border seem to be reaching a tipping point, the question remains: what impact will this have on water?  This article discusses some of the key considerations for stakeholders and outlines immediate policy needs for this region.

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Luke Wilson.jpg
Deputy Director

On June 16, 2020, amid reports of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, clashes broke out between two major powers: India and China.  The clashes, ostensibly over competing territorial claims along the India-China border, are a picture of both restraint and petty aggression.  The Chinese built a temporary post in disputed territory.  The post overlooked the main road that India uses to access this area, making the temporary post a direct challenge.  The Indian side, aware that "temporary" Chinese posts have a habit of becoming beachheads (as in the South China Sea, where initial bases became landfills and, eventually, full military installations), would have felt the need to confront the challenge directly.  These border skirmishes have been going on for 40 years, with tit-for-tat incursions from both sides.  This time, when the 900 combined Indian and Chinese troops faced each other down, the outcome was deadly.  Twenty soldiers on the Indian side died, and casualties on the Chinese side are unconfirmed but probably around the same, with many others injured.  The injuries were caused by rocks and bamboo sticks with nails in them, making this fight more medieval than modern.  

But the choice of weapons and th

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