Climate change, migration, and conflict in South Asia: rising tensions and policy options across the subcontinent

South Asia will be among the regions hardest hit by climate change. Higher temperatures, more extreme weather, rising sea levels, increasing cyclonic activity in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, as well as floods in the region’s complex river systems will complicate existing development and poverty reduction initiatives. Coupled with high population density levels, these climate shifts have the potential to create complex environmental, humanitarian, and security challenges. India and Bangladesh, in particular, will feel the impacts of climate change acutely. The consequences of climate change will change conditions and undermine livelihoods in many areas. And extreme events and deteriorating conditions are likely to force many to leave their homes temporarily or even permanently for another village, city, region or country. This paper examines the role of climate change, migration, and security broadly at the national level in India and Bangladesh-and then zero in more closely on northeast India and Bangladesh to demonstrate the interlocking problems faced by the people there and writ larger across all of South Asia.