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The Security Implications of Water: Prospects for Instability or Cooperation in South and Central Asia

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Master's thesis

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This thesis will explore the security implications of water scarcity through an examination of the politics of water in South Asia India and Pakistan and Central Asia Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The thesis will argue that when water is viewed in terms of security interdependence as in South Asia rather than economic interdependence as in Central Asia, states are more inclined to successfully cooperate. The cases of South and Central Asia investigated in this thesis illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of being geographically an upstream or downstream state and the means by which governments in the two regions have attempted to forge cooperation and reciprocity. In order to assess the potential for conflict over water resources, the thesis relies heavily on cooperation theorythat states will continue to cooperate assuming the long-term benefits of cooperation on water sharing outweigh short-term benefits of non-cooperation to meet domestic water demands. The South and Central Asia cases vary with respect to the positions of relative power between upstream and downstream states and the tenor of post-independence relations. While the majority of water disputes in both regions with less success in Central Asia have been resolved through diplomacy and treaties, the next ten to twenty years will likely present unparalleled challenges of greater complexity to water sharing efforts. The two case studies present contrasting regions at different stages of cooperative development over water.

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  • Defense Systems

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