India keeps an eye on China dam plan

India keeps an eye on China dam plan

NEW DELHI: Taking note of reports that China was planning a mega hydro-power project on the Brahmaputra river, the government on Thursday said it will remain engaged with Beijing on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard India’s interests. The foreign ministry said India carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra river and its likely impact on lower riparian states.
“As a lower riparian state with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
Srivastava said the Chinese side had conveyed to India on several occasions that they were only undertaking run-of-the-river hydro-power projects which didn’t involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra.
“Various issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalized Expert Level Mechanism which was established in 2006, as well as through diplomatic channels. We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interests,” he added. Looking to address concerns in India about the proposed project, the Chinese embassy had said in a statement on Wednesday that any such project will take into account the likely impact on “downstream areas”.
“Any project will undergo scientific planning and demonstration with full consideration for the impact on the downstream areas and the interests of both upstream and downstream countries,” said the embassy spokesperson, adding that, at present, downstream development of the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra) river was still at the stage of preliminary planning and demonstration.
Concerns over dams on the Brahmaputra have been raised in the past by both India and Bangladesh, the lower riparian states, and China has always downplayed such fears saying it would keep their interests in mind and that its dams are mostly runof-the-river projects.

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