Brahma Chellaney


Research Professor

Brahma Chellaney is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Centre for Policy Research. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the Foreign Minister of India. Before that, Professor Chellaney was an adviser to India’s National Security Council until January 2000, serving as convener of the External Security Group of the National Security Advisory Board.

A specialist on international security and arms control issues, Professor Chellaney has held appointments at the Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the Australian National University.

He is the author of nine books, including Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013); Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan (Harper Paperbacks, New York, 2010); and Water: Asia’s New Battleground (Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, new edition 2013). Asian Juggernaut, an international bestseller, has been translated into several languages. His other publications include Controlling the Taps, a 2012 “blue book” for international institutional investors on water-related risks and opportunities that was published by CLSA; and A ascensão da Ásia e seu impacto global, a book published in late 2012 by the Brazilian publishing company Editora Acatu that examines a rising Asia’s impact on international relations. 

Professor Chellaney’s latest book is Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis, internationally published from USA by Rowman & Littlefield, one of the largest independent publishing companies of North America. Rowman & Littlefield has licensed the South Asia rights of this authoritative study to Oxford University Press for a 2014 paperback edition. Water, Peace, and War brings out that water, although essential to sustaining life and livelihoods, remains the world’s most underappreciated and undervalued resource. This must change if water conflicts are to be averted.

Water: Asia’s New Battleground, originaly published in September 2011, won the 2012 Bernard Schwartz Award. A nine-member jury, co-chaired by Tommy T. B. Koh, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large, and Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University, selected the book for the $20,000 award from almost 90 nominations for its “outstanding contribution to the understanding of contemporary Asia.” A new updated edition of this book in paperback was published in September 2013. 

The book examines water as a key strategic resource that could determine if Asia is headed toward cooperation or competition. The risk of water becoming a trigger for war or diplomatic strong-arming is especially high in Asia, which is home to three-fifths of the human population, yet has the lowest per-capita freshwater availability among all continents. Plans to reengineer river flows and overexploit transnational aquifers have only promoted the “securitization” of water.

This interdisciplinary study, by innovatively looking at water and security across Asia, seeks to fill a void in the literature: There are many good studies of subregional water issues in Asia (including in Southeast Asia, China, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East), but none specifically focus on the larger Asian water picture in the context of peace and security. This is the first wide-ranging study of water and peace that examines Asia in its totality and employs this broader framework to thematically focus on critical issues. The book thus covers the entire Asian continent, stretching from Japan to Turkey, and from Central Asia to the Indonesian archipelago. In addition to being the first comprehensive study of the larger geostrategic dimensions of Asian water issues, the book brings out the lessons that other continents can draw from Asia’s experiences so as to avert similar challenges.

Another of his publications is a smaller, 100-page book, On the Frontline of Climate Change: International Security Implications (KAF, 2007), with Heela Najibullah. 

He has published research papers, among others, in International Security, Orbis, Survival, Washington Quarterly, Security Studies and Terrorism

Professor Chellaney is also a newspaper columnist and television commentator. He contributes opinion articles to the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Japan TimesMint, the Economic Times and the Times of India. In 1985, he won a Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club (OPC), New York.


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