Climate Change and National Security Concerns in India

  Dec 20, 2023

Climate Change and National Security Concerns in India

Agricultural Vulnerability:
For example, the Indian state of Maharashtra has experienced severe droughts affecting the Vidarbha region, leading to farmer suicides and social unrest. Climate-induced agrarian distress could escalate to widespread migrations, potentially leading to conflicts over resources in more stable regions.

Water Scarcity and Conflicts:
Inter-state water disputes, such as those over the Cauvery river between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, could intensify with changing rainfall patterns, potentially becoming flashpoints for civil unrest or inter-state tensions.

Health Emergencies:
The spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue fever is becoming more common as temperatures rise, especially in urban areas like Delhi. This places a heavy burden on India’s healthcare system and could lead to public dissatisfaction and unrest.

Economic Impact of Natural Disasters:
Cyclone Amphan in 2020 caused widespread destruction in West Bengal, leading to economic losses and highlighting the vulnerability of coastal economies to climate-induced disasters.

Coastal Community Relocation:
Rising sea levels threaten cities like Mumbai, potentially displacing large populations and creating internal migrants competing for space and resources in other parts of the country.

Energy Insecurity:
Unpredictable monsoons impact hydroelectric power generation, as seen with the reduced output from the Bhakra Nangal Dam during dry spells, affecting energy supply and heightening security concerns over energy infrastructure.

Strategic Military Shifts:
The melting of Himalayan glaciers opens up new patrolling challenges for the Indian military on the northern borders, requiring adaptation of defense strategies to new terrain conditions.

Induced Migration:
Climate events like the Assam floods displace thousands, sometimes leading to tension and violence in relief camps or when migrants seek shelter in neighboring states.

Indigenous Community Tensions:
The construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river affected numerous indigenous communities, leading to protracted legal battles and protests over displacement and environmental degradation.

Renewable Energy Transitions:
India’s push for solar energy, exemplified by the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, represents a shift in energy policy but also disrupts traditional coal-based economies, potentially leading to job loss and social upheaval if transitions are not managed inclusively.

International Diplomacy and Climate Politics:
Glacial retreat in the Himalayas affects not only India but also neighboring countries like Nepal and Bhutan, necessitating transnational collaboration to manage shared water resources and prevent potential international disputes.

In summary, India faces multifaceted security challenges due to climate change, with concrete examples across various states illustrating the urgent need for a climate-resilient security strategy.


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