New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) The government on Thursday said it carefully monitors all developments relating to the Brahmaputra river, including plans by China to develop hydropower projects, and has consistently conveyed its concerns to Chinese authorities, urging them to ensure that interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.
In a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s interests and takes all necessary measures to protect them. On whether China has constructed many big dams at the source of Brahmaputra, he said the government carefully monitors all developments relating to the river, including plans by China to develop hydropower projects.
“A hydropower project at Zangmu was declared fully operational in October 2015. In its 12th Five Year Plan for the period 2011-2015, China planned to develop three more hydropower projects (Jiacha, Dagu and Jiexu) on the main stream of Brahmaputra River in Tibet Autonomous Region. Of the three, the first unit of the hydropower project at Jiacha was operationalised in August 2020,” Muraleedharan said in his written reply.
“It is understood that the Dagu Hydropower project is partly operationalised. In March 2021, China adopted its 14th Five Year Plan which mentions plans for hydropower development on the lower reaches of the Brahmaputra river,” he said. 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, Muraleedharan said. “Government has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas,” he said.
India and China have established an Expert-Level Mechanism on trans-border rivers in 2006, Muraleedharan noted. “Various issues relating to trans-border rivers are discussed with China under the ambit of this institutionalized Expert-Level Mechanism 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 said.
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