The building of dam across the Brahmaputra river could significantly reduce the quantum of water following into India
Reports of China building a dam surfaced this week adding what can be seen as a new friction point in already fraught ties between the two neighbours
New Delhi:India on Thursday said it had conveyed its concerns to China as a “lower riparian state with considerable user rights" over Beijing's reported plans to build a dam across the Brahmaputra river that could significantly reduce the quantum of water following into India.
Reports of China building a dam surfaced this week adding what can be seen as a new friction point in already fraught ties between the two neighbours. India and China are engaged in a military face off in Ladakh that will soon enter its eighth month.
“We have taken note of some media reports in this regard. The government carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra River. 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 has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters.
“The Chinese side has conveyed to us on several occasions that they are only undertaking run-of-the-river hydropower projects which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra," he said.
“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.
The comments come after a report in the Chinese government backed Global Times said that Beijing planned to construct a major hydropower project on the Yarlung Zangbo river which is the Tibetan name for the Brahmaputra. Previously too, India has registered its concerns over Chinese plans to build dams on trans border rivers.
On Thursday, Srivastava said India and Australia had exchanged views on “regional and global developments as well as current issues of concern." This was in response to a question on a phone call between the foreign ministers of India and Australia earlier this week. It comes amid a major diplomatic spat between China and Australia. Analysts have said that that China’s belligerence towards countries like India and Australia and others in the region were discussed during the telephone as is evident from the phrasing of the sentence – “We (India and Australia) exchange views on regional and global developments as well as current issues of concern."
When asked about the possibility of more talks between India and China to resolve their border standoff, Srivastava said: “Both sides have agreed to have another round of Senior Commanders meeting at an appropriate time. As and when we have more information, we will share it with you."