For several years, humans have kept themselves moving from one place to another in search of better living conditions. Migration for the attainment of better lifestyle and better opportunities is what is persistent till now but have you heard about migration due to climate change? If not, it might become a reality in the upcoming decades and none of the nations are yet ready for it.
An obvious question that might arise is that why should the nations of the world be ready for it? The answer lies in the enormous scale at which this type of migration will occur. It will be a chaotic displacement of millions of people at once. The migrant victims of climate change will end up being ‘climate refugees’ if support mechanisms for a mass transfer of people isn’t designed at the earliest. In this article, without going into the details of climate change, I will discuss about the impacts it will have on India due to rising sea levels as one of the elements of climate change.
For the last 25 years, leaders and diplomats from different countries have had unsuccessful attempts at hammering out a consolidate agreement over climate change issues under the UN banner. Without a strong support from economically sound nations, countries that are potential victims of climate change cannot ensure safety of their population in catastrophic times. Such countries usually have the geographic traits of archipelagos, islands or land masses at lower sea levels. For instance, Maldives is an archipelago and Bangladesh is at low sea level. These two countries are expected to create an influx of refugees into the Indian territories.
In case of sudden drastic climate changes and rise in sea levels, citizens of Maldives and Bangladesh will have no choice other than taking refuge of India or the Gulf region. Already amidst the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh which is one of the most densely populated countries cannot sustain another major crisis without an aid from India or China. In fact, it is very obvious that just like the Rohingyas do, the Bangladeshi refugees will also infiltrate our borders and move into the inlands in masses. The main reason for their inland shift will be the erosion of coasts due to inundation of sea which will make Bangladesh uninhabitable. Similarly, the drowning islands of Maldives will render it’s population homeless. India as a nation with values and responsibilities cannot infringe the human rights laws laid by the UN and refuse refugees their right to safe asylum. But at the same time India cannot also fully cater to their needs alone.
The encroachment of around 200 million refugees in India, China and Middle East will only create social and political unrest at the end. Adding to this might be issues like pre-existent inflation, food shortage, land shortage and many such unsuitable troubles. The lack of solution in hand can backfire the events in the future. As of the present, I can appropriately state that India can avoid such adversity by demarcating top notch strategies for gradual displacement of the potential victims. This can be possible by expert economists, environmentalists, technologists and diplomats from all concerned nations of South Asia coming together and finding ways without waiting for the assistance of the UNO, since it is rightly said that prevention is better than cure.