The Himalaya Complex: Roads and Conflict in High Asia
Murton, Galen B.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract:This paper analyzes how the development of transportation infrastructure throughout the Trans Himalaya affects inter-state relations and intra-state conflict across the greater Inner Asian region. I challenge the realist misperception that purely competitive ... read moreinterests drive both China and India's foreign policies and robust economic growth. Instead, I suggest that a new level of complex connectivity, brought about by modern transportation technology, is transforming the region on an international scale. However, concurrent with this inter-state development is a converse, intra-state dynamic that threatens security in the Himalayan borderlands: many new roads are also creating conflict across western China. My hypothesis is that the development of highways and railroads linking western China with neighboring South and Central Asian countries is utilitarian yet exhibits an oppositional dynamic: international roads enhance regional stability but China's domestic projects cause internal conflict. In order to gauge the net result of these phenomena, I test my hypothesis on this oppositional dynamic with comparative case study analyses. To this end, I examine both inter- and intra-state conflicts in the Tibetan Himalaya as well as make micro case studies on representative road developments, conducted by China and India, in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Tibet, and Sikkim.read less