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The novel, Radius 200 by author Veena Nagpal, has two facts at the centre of the fictional narrative that she weaves. 'Impending water scarcity and the very real danger of an Sino-Indian conflict over this precious resource', says Nagpal in the context of her book that was launched with much fanfare at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January. 'I had once seen a small video made by ex-President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It very graphically depicted what water scarcity could do to human beings. Later, experts began predicting that the Third World War could be triggered by water scarcity -- and that Asia was a flash point. India relies on the river Brahmaputra for 30 per cent of its water needs. China is building the world's largest dam to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra to its own territory. Once the dam becomes a reality China could, at will, flood India or

or starve it of water', Nagpal told IANS in an interview.

This impending water crisis, coupled with the "deteriorating politico-military relationships within India", led the author to speculate.

'What if a top-ranking Indian general took it into his head to blow up the Chinese dam? What deadly sequence of events would follow— retaliatory nuclear attack? An Exclusion Zone? What if two lovers were separated— one inside the Exclusion Zone and one outside?' she asked.

And this is what happens in the novel.



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