Amid reports that China plans to build a major dam on the Brahmaputra, India on Thursday said that it “carefully monitors” all developments relating to the river, and intends to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard its interests.
The Brahmaputra, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The MEA’s official spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said at a briefing that the Chinese side has conveyed to India on several occasions that it was only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects, which do not involve diversion of the Brahmaputra’s water.
Asked about media reports that China will build a ‘super dam’ on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangbo in Tibet, Srivastava said, “We have taken note of some media reports in this regard. The government carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra.”
Noting that issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalised expert-level mechanism and through diplomatic channels, Srivastava said, “We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests.”
Srivastava also said that “as a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to water of the trans-border rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.”
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said there is no need for “any anxiety” over the project, and that China will continue to have “good communication” with lower riparian states India and Bangladesh.
On China’s plans to build the dam near the LAC near Arunachal Pradesh, where the Brahmaputra enters India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a media briefing that “hydropower development in the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river is China’s legitimate right. When it comes to use and development of cross border rivers, China always acts responsibly.”
Hua said, “We have a policy featuring development and conservation and all projects will go through science-based planning and assessment giving full consideration to impact downstream and accommodating the interests of upstream and downstream regions.
“The development of lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo is in the early stages of planning and assessment. There is no need to read too much into that…going forward China, India, Bangladesh and other concerned countries will continue to have good communication. There is no need for any anxiety on this matter.”
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