(This session includes welcome and introductory remarks: Why we launched this initiative)
With two regional hegemons India and China competing for power and influence, the Himalayan border between the two is often depicted as an area of contention -- a hotspot of geopolitical conflict that draws in a number of nations into heated disputes. Moreover, as the climate crisis worsens, fast melting glaciers are giving rise to new anxieties over access to freshwater resources, and this is generating scenarios of conflict that undermines efforts at cooperation. Might it be time to go beyond statist IR (international relations) theorizations that engender predominantly securitized discourses amongst the region’s major actors that include Delhi, Beijing, Islamabad, Kathmandu, Thimphu? Is there an opportunity here to instead think about Himalayan water as a complex nexus of ecologies, local cultures, regional geopolitics, and scientific data in order to both deepen cooperation and produce holistic and more just solutions that will benefit the 2.5 billion people whose livelihoods are directly impacted by the fate of these melting mountains?
- Sophia Kalantzakos, NYU/NYU Abu Dhabi
- Alex Davis, The University of Western Austrailia
- Dipak Gyawali, Former Minister of Water Resources Nepal
- Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, IIM Calcutta
- Ruth Gamble, La Trobe University