India's leading strategic thinker and analyst, Brahma Chellaney has won the 2012 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award for his recently published book Water: Asia's New Battleground.
Chellaney will be honoured and presented with a $20,000 prize at a special event to be held at Asia Society's headquarters in New York City on January 23.
Established in 2009, the Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award is the only award that recognises non-fiction books for their outstanding contributions to the understanding of contemporary Asia or US-Asia relations, as well as potential policy impacts relating to the region.
Published by the Georgetown University Press Water: Asia's New Battleground was selected from nearly 90 nominations submitted by US and Asia-based publishers for books published in 2011.
A jury co-chaired by Tommy T B Koh, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large, and Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University and composed of leading experts and figures from policy, academia, and journalism from India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States selected the winner and honourable mentions.
"This timely, comprehensive and forward-looking book makes the compelling case that water will likely emerge as one of Asia's biggest security challenges in the 21st century. The equitable and sustainable management of Asia's great river systems should be a priority on the global agenda," Koh said.
"Conflicts over water are an increasingly pressing problem in many places. In his important book, Brahma Chellaney alerts us to the challenges facing Asia in assuring adequate water supplies across the region," Gluck said.
Water: Asia's New Battleground underscores the importance of water as a means of security at multiple levels in Asia," said Suzanne DiMaggio, vice president of Asia Society's Global Policy Programmes.
"Policymakers need to look at this vital resource in a way that takes into account the complex national security and development issues countries and communities will face as water scarcity in the region intensifies," she added.
Two honourable mentions were also chosen: Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, by Ezra Vogel (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press) and Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land by Joel Brinkley (Public Affairs). Each will receive a $2,000 prize.
Previous years' winners of the Book Award include Richard McGregor for The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers (2011), James C Scott for The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (2010), and Duncan McCargo for Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (2009).