India tells China it is concerned about its Brahmaputra hydropower project

India has conveyed its concerns regarding the diversion of waters of Brahmaputra river, India’s external affairs ministry said on Thursday after reports that China is building a mega-dam on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tibet.

The Chinese side has assured that they’re only undertaking run of river hydropower projects which don’t involve diversion of waters of Brahmaputra, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a weekly media briefing.

“We have urged them to ensure that the interest of downstream states isn’t harmed by activities in upstream areas. Chinese side conveyed to us on several occasions that they’re only undertaking run of river hydropower projects which don’t involve diversion of waters of Brahmaputra,” said Srivastava.

He also said that the government is monitoring the developments and as lower Riparian state with considerable established user rights to water of transborder rivers “we have consistently conveyed concerns to China.”

“We intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of transborder rivers to safeguard our interests,” Srivastava further said.

Earlier this week, Chinese state media had reported that Beijing will build a “super” dam on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river. Chinese media had indicated that the dam could come up in the Medog county of TAR, which is close to Arunachal Pradesh.

Originating in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the trans-border Yarlung Zangbo flows into Arunachal Pradesh where it is called Siang and then to Assam as Brahmaputra before flowing into Bangladesh.

The new dam’s ability to generate hydropower could be three times that of central China’s Three Gorges Dam, which has the largest installed hydropower capacity in the world.

China had earlier played down its plan, saying there is no need to have “any anxiety” over the project and assured that it would continue to have “good communication” with lower riparian states – India and Bangladesh.

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