Only one Tibet to Quench Asia’s Growing Thirst

The Tibet Policy Institute in collaboration with the Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University and the Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives is organizing a conference on August 21, 2015 at the University of Delhi
Guest House to look into the health of the Tibetan Plateau. Invited scholars and experts will examine the
significance of the Tibetan Plateau and its impact on the rest of Asia.
Tibetan Plateau is an immense upland comprising an area of 2.5 million square kilometers, at an average altitude of  4500 meter above sea level, thus making it the largest and highest plateau on our earth. Sven Hedin, the famous Swedish explorer of Tibet and Central Asia describes the plateau as “the most stupendous upheaval on the face of the Earth”.

This vast plateau is the source of Asia’s ten major river systems. Rivers like Brahmaputra, Indus, Yangtze, Yellow,
Mekong, Salween and others provide fresh water and sustain life for some of the world’s most populated nations
like India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Chinese scientists refer to Tibet as the Third Pole and the Water Tower of Asia. The 46,000 glaciers on the plateau feed the ten major river systems that water much of Asia and sustain almost 47% of the earth’s human total population.
In some scholarly circles alarm bells are ringing that China’s development activities on the Tibetan Plateau,
especially it’s damming and diversion schemes of Tibetan rivers, will have a catastrophic effect on the rest of Asia.
In his study, Water: Asia’s New Battleground, Brahma Chellaney, an Indian strategic thinker, says water is Asia’s
new oil. River waters of Tibet are Asia’s lifeline. Michael Buckley, author of Meltdown in Tibet and an
environmentalist, brings this chorus to a higher pitch. His book draws attention to the critical importance of Tibet’s
environment to the sustainability of development of Asia.
The Chinese government denies all of these. In its latest White Paper on Tibet, it says, “Serving as the important
ecological safety barrier in China, Tibet’s role is significant not only in Asia but on a global level. In recent decades,in keeping with economic, social and natural laws, Tibet has avoided development at the expense of the natural environment. Instead it has followed a sustainable path compatible with the harmonious coexistence of economy, society, and ecological environment.”
Viewed in this environmental context, the problem of Tibet goes beyond the Tibetan people and touches on the
day today existence of millions who live downstream. To examine this issue the organizers are inviting students and experts to discuss their independent research findings to look into the health of the Tibetan Plateau. Invited
scholars and experts will examine the significance of the Tibetan Plateau and its impact on the rest of Asia.

 

Conference Programme

August 21, 2015

OPENING SESSION

10:30-10:40am                  Welcome Address by Thubten Samphel, Director, the Tibet Policy Institute.

10:40-10:55am                  Inaugural Address by Chief Guest Prof. Sreemati Chakrabarti, Head, Department of

                                              East  Asian Studies, Delhi University.

10:55- 11:10am                 Keynote Address by Dr Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong, Central Tibetan Administration.

11:10-11:30 am        TEA BREAK

FIRST SESSION

11:30-11:35am                   Session Chair, Prof. Abanti Bhattacharya, Department of East Asian Studies, DU

11:35-11:55am                   Critical Geo-politics and the Idea of Tibet

                                              Prof. Madhu Bhalla, (Retd), Dept of East  Asian Studies, Delhi University

11:55-12:15pm                  Glacial Retreat on the Tibetan Plateau and its impact on the Indian Subcontinent Prof.

                                              Milap Chand Sharma, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

12:15-12:35pm                  Why Tibetan Plateau Matters

                                              ZamlhaTempa Gyaltsen, Research Fellow, the Tibet Policy Institute

12:35-01:00pm                  Question and Answer

01:00-02:00pm        LUNCH BREAK

SECOND SESSION

02:00-02:05pm                  Session Chair, Prof. Viney C Bhutani (Retd), Dept of East Asian Studies, Delhi

                                              University

02:05-02:25pm                  Chinese Tourism in Tibet & the Environmental Impacts for Tibet & the Indian

                                              Subcontinent Claude Arpi, Author

02:25-02:45pm                  Damming of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet

                                              Lobsang Yangtso, Ph.D student, Jawaharlal  Nehru University

02:45-03:05pm                  Question and Answer

CONCLUDING SESSION

03:05-03:35pm                   Concluding remarks & sum-up by Prof. Chandan Mahanta, IIT Guwahati.

03:35-03:45pm                   Vote of Thanks by Tsering Yangkey, Deputy Director, the Tibet Policy Institute

03:45-04:00pm            REFRESHMENTS

Organizers:                        The Tibet Policy Institute, the Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University and the

Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives.

Conference Title:              Only One Tibet to Quench Asia’s Growing Thirst

                                              (Experts look into the health of the Tibetan Plateau).

Venue:                                 University of Delhi Guest House

(Gate 1, Delhi University, North Campus)