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.
August 21, 2015
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
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
02:00-02:05pm Session Chair, Prof. Viney C Bhutani (Retd), Dept of East Asian Studies, Delhi
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
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
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)