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China and India both plans to build a dam over Brahmaputra

China and India both plans to build a dam over Brahmaputra


China will build a major hydropower project 60 GW capacity on Brahmaputra river in Tibet and a proposal for this has been clearly put forward in the 14th Five-Year Plan to be implemented from next year, the official media on Sunday quoted the head of a Chinese company tasked to build the dam as saying. Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said China will “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River” (the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra) and the project could serve to maintain water resources and domestic security, the Global Times reported. 

Speaking at a conference on Thursday, Yan said the project was clearly put forward in the proposals for formulating the country”s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), it quoted an article on the WeChat account of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China on Sunday.


India is considering a plan to build a 10-gigawatt (GW) hydropower project in a remote eastern state, an Indian official said on Tuesday, following reports that China could construct dams on a section of the Brahmaputra river. Indian authorities are concerned Chinese projects could trigger flash floods or create water scarcity, “The need of the hour is to have a big dam in Arunachal Pradesh to mitigate the adverse impact of the Chinese dam projects,” TS Mehra, a senior official in India’s federal water ministry, told the Reuters news agency.

“Our proposal is under consideration at the highest level in the government,” Mehra said, adding the Indian plan would create a large water storage capacity to offset the effect of Chinese dams on water flows. Diplomatic relations between India and China are at a nadir, with troops locked in a border face-off in the western Himalayas for months. Some analysts warned that damming the Brahmaputra could potentially develop into another flashpoint, as Beijing’s dam-building activities moved closer to the Indian border.


Yan Zhiyong, chairman of state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China, speaking at an industry conference, said plans to dam the river were a “historic opportunity”.“Formally, we are telling them (the Chinese) that any project you undertake, should not cause an adverse impact on India. They have given an assurance, but we don’t know how long their assurance will last,” Mehra said.

Hydro projects on Asia’s great rivers have been a growing source of regional tensions in recent years. In Southeast Asia, China has faced accusations a series of dams it has built on the Mekong have worsened drought in downstream countries, which Beijing denies. India would be concerned if the Chinese built a dam around a so-called “great bend”, where the Yarlung curves southward before entering India and where the river gains substantial volume of water, said Sayanangshu Modak, a researcher at the New-Delhi based Observer Research Foundation think-tank.

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Praveen Yadav

19 | Bibliophile and quaint | Full-Time Coder, Occasional Writer | Analytical Journalist at NDTV | Political and Psychological

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