Tibet issue not a problem for China but a solution for Asia:Lobsang Sangay

By Rinchen Angmo Chumikchan Leh, Aug 29, 2015
Leh :

The Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government- in- exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay, has said that the Tibet issue is not a problem of China but a solution for Asia as a whole.  He says Tibet should not be looked simply as a problem of China, it should be viewed as a solution for Asia’s water woes. “If you put it that way, perhaps we can invite and encourage all the Asian countries to come and support the Tibetan cause.”

Sangay was addressing on the issue ‘Environment of Tibet and its Impact on Asia’, on Aug 25, at the Ladakh International Centre here.

He highlighted the environmental issues facing Tibet and the future impacts on Asia, quoting that Tibet is a source of 10 major rivers in Asia. About 40 per cent of fresh water in the Indus River comes from the glaciers in Tibet, and that the Yangtze River and Yellow River in China as well as the Mekong River in Vietnam, and the Brahmaputra River in India and Bangladesh all originate from Tibet.

Sangay said that environment, particularly water issue, should be addressed as Tibet has 10 major rivers. “Most of the major rivers originating from Tibet provide fresh water to the rest of Asia, and in that sense Tibet is the lifeline of Asia.”

He said that China had 20 dams ---the Yangtse dam being the largest in the world. They are constructing dams and controlling the flow of the river. “Once you have a dam, you control the flow of rivers”, said Sangay.

Putting Tibet’s vast water resources into the current context over the globe, he said, “In ancient times, people fought over land, and in recent times, it is over oil; and soon there will be a time when they battle over water.”

Sangay said that as per scientific studies, the global warming in Tibet was double the percentage of the rest of the world. As per NASA in the last 40 years, 20% of Tibet’s glaciers have melted, in the next 40 years they estimate 60% of Tibet’s glacier will melt because of global warming.

Former envoy P. Stobdan said that India must understand issues through Ladakh perspective. He said that an international conference on China, Russia and India, supported by the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India, would be held in December in New Delhi. Stobdan added understanding Tibet was important for India and also for Ladakh in terms of what could happen to our water, environment and land. 

China currently has no river water-sharing agreements with any nation along its borders.

Tibet is often referred to as the 'Third Pole', because it is the third-largest source of water locked in ice and snow.

Tibet is unique in the world as a mass provider of fresh water, via rivers, to a dozen nations downstream.

Today, by building mega dams and reservoirs in its borderlands, China is working to re-engineer the flows of major rivers that are the lifeline of the nations downstream.

China has resolutely refused to join the Mekong River Commission—set up in 1995 to resolve issues of shared concern by the countries along the Mekong.

China is the country controlling the headwaters of major Asian rivers

The United Nations General Assembly adopted UN Watercourses Convention in 1997 by an overwhelming majority. But China did not sign it.