China plays down concerns over ‘super’ dam impacting water security in northeast India
China on Wednesday said that any hydropower project on the Yarlung Zangbo river, which is known as the Brahmaputra in Assam, will be planned with full consideration for the interests of downstream countries such as India.
The spokesperson of the Chinese embassy, Ji Rong, outlined Beijing’s position in response to reports that a planned “super” dam on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tibet, could have far-reaching consequences for water security for India’s northeastern states.
The trans-border Yarlung Zangbo, which originates in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), flows into Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang, and then to Assam as the Brahmaputra before flowing into Bangladesh.
Chinese state media reported on Sunday that the dam would be built in Medog county of TAR, close to India’s Arunachal Pradesh state, and its hydropower generation capacity could be three times that of central China’s Three Gorges Dam, which has the world’s largest installed capacity. China has already built several smaller dams on the Yarlung Zangbo.
Responding to concerns that new projects on the Yarlung Zangbo will impact downstream countries, spokesperson Ji said in a statement: “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.
“At present, the downstream development of the Yarlung Zangbo river is still in the stage of preliminary planning and demonstration. There is no need to over-interpret it.”
Ji also said China had “always taken a responsible attitude towards the development and utilisation of cross-border rivers” and has a policy whereby “protection goes together with development”.
Chinese state media had reported that initial work on the “super” dam had begun with Power Construction Corporation of China, or Powerchina, signing a cooperation agreement with the TAR government on October 16.
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