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Comprehensive Assessment of Geopolitical Risk in the Himalayan Region Based on the Grid Scale

Shihai Wu, Yili Zhang and Jianzhong Yan ()
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Shihai Wu: College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
Yili Zhang: Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Jianzhong Yan: College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China

Sustainability, 2022, vol. 14, issue 15, 1-20

Abstract: The Himalayan region serves as a land bridge between China and South Asia but is vulnerable to geopolitical factors. It is important to conduct geopolitical risk assessments to facilitate the restoration and construction of traditional trade routes in the Himalayan region. Based on multisource natural, political, and socioeconomic data, we selected 12 indicators, including topographic relief, landslide risk, multi-hazard index, population density, territorial disputes, conflict risk, corruption perception index, transboundary water disputed risk, night light index, GDP, accessibility, and economic freedom, to assess these risks. A comprehensive assessment of the geopolitical risk in the Himalayan region is presented using the random forest (RF) model, analytic hierarchy process (AHP), entropy weight method, and AHP-entropy weight method. The results indicated that the geopolitical risk in the Himalayan region is generally high in the north and low in the south, with high level of risk primarily concentrated in the Kashmir valley and south, south-central Nepal and southern Tibet, and low level of risk mainly concentrated in the Bhutan and Tibet border areas of China. The high likelihood of natural risk is largely concentrated in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Nepal, southeastern Bhutan, and southern Tibet. Significant political risk is mostly confined to the Kashmir valley and its south, while economic risk is mostly concentrated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan, Pakistani-administered regions of Kashmir, and Nepal. Geopolitical risk assessment based on the grid scale can better reveal and portray the spatial distribution of geopolitical risk in the Himalayan region and provide a basis for the restoration and construction of traditional trade routes in this region. According to the results of the geopolitical risk assessment, it is recommended that priority be given to construction in areas of relatively low risk, such as those close to Burang Country and Mustang, and that integrated planning be carried out for the restoration and construction of the predominantly low-risk trade routes between China and Bhutan, with further comprehensive analysis of each route conducted in conjunction with field surveys and proposed construction and control strategies.

Keywords: geopolitical risk; comprehensive assessment; grid scale; traditional trade routes; Himalayan region (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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