The rising climate disaster in South Asia has serious geopolitical ramifications, in addition to environmental, social, and economic difficulties.South Asia is a volatile region because of its many different countries, their intricate interconnections, and the long-standing geopolitical tensions between them. The climate crisis is just going to make things worse. Climate change, resource scarcity, and migration all have the potential to deepen preexisting geopolitical fault lines and put regional cooperation to the test in the not-too-distant future.Due to the crisis, competition will increase for scarce resources like water and power. With fewer rivers and melting glaciers, countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh may become increasingly competitive with one another, if not at odds.
A similar struggle for renewable energy sources and resources could arise among regional powers. It will cause people to relocate both inside and between countries. This influx of people can put a burden on infrastructure, deepen economic and social divides, and spark unrest. It might also exacerbate existing geopolitical tensions and destabilise vulnerable regions by sparking wars over scarce resources, land, and jobs.In 2023, the climatic catastrophe would have aggravated the water situation between Iran and Afghanistan, making it a major geopolitical challenge in the region. Droughts, decreased precipitation, and melting glaciers in the Hindu Kush and Alborz mountain ranges are only some of the climate change impacts that both countries are dealing with, leading to declining water supplies and rising tensions over shared water resources.
Water scarcity has worsened in the region due to the climate catastrophe, impacting both Iran and Afghanistan. The Helmand River, which flows from Afghanistan to Iran, is one of many rivers that have been under severe strain due to the lack of water.The Helmand River has long served as a vital resource for agriculture, drinking water, and fishing in both Afghanistan and Iran. A decline in the flow of the Helmand River has exacerbated water scarcity in the region as a result of climate change consequences such as extended droughts and less precipitation.Iran claims that Afghanistan is limiting the river’s downstream flow into Iranian territory by increasing water usage and building dams without consulting Iran first. This has led to diplomatic conflicts and negotiations between the two countries, straining bilateral relations.
Warring parties on opposite sides of the Helmand River highlight the importance of cooperative water management techniques in the face of climate change. To guarantee everyone’s fair share of water resources and reduce tensions, it stresses the need for regional collaboration, open communication, and the adoption of sustainable practises. It is concerning that bilateral relationships might shatter so swiftly, especially given that Afghanistan and Iran do not have a traditionally problematic relationship to the extent that India and Pakistan have. This also casts doubt on the continuation of the Indus Waters Treaty.
Despite their political tensions, India and Pakistan have managed to successfully implement the Indus Waters Treaty they signed in 1960. The pact establishes a protocol for the equitable distribution of water and includes provisions for the settlement of disputes.The Iran-Afghanistan water dispute is a timely reminder of the value of water treaties and the need for strong bilateral and regional collaboration in the administration of these vital shared resources. While the treaty has been in effect for decades and has successfully regulated water sharing between the two countries, it is vulnerable to strain from new conditions, expanding issues relating to water resources, and shifting geopolitical factors.