China allays fears

Beijing, Feb. 4 (PTI): China today said its move to build three more dams on the Brahmaputra in Tibet would not affect the flow of water to downstream areas said. It also said it was in "communication and cooperation" with India over cross-border river issues.

"China has always taken a responsible attitude towards cross-border river development. China and India are maintaining communication and cooperation on the cross-border river issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters here.

She was responding to a question about India's assertion that China should ensure that the interests of downstream countries were not harmed and whether there was any communication between the two countries in this regard.

Hua did not specify whether the two countries were in communication regarding the new dams, which it proposes to build by 2015. China has not officially communicated to India about the three dams, even though top officials of the two countries held high-level talks on a host of bilateral issues.

The plans for building dams came to the notice of Indian officials while going through an official document of new projects, which was approved by the Chinese cabinet last month.

India and China have an agreement on sharing the data of Brahmaputra waters, but do not have any treaty similar to India and Pakistan on sharing the river waters.

Indian officials maintain that the water flows by and large have remained the same in recent years.

"We fully considered the impact of the downstream region. The planned power stations you mentioned will not affect the flood control or disaster reduction efforts as well as ecological environment of lower reaches," Hua said.

China is currently building at Dagu, Jiacha and Jiexu in addition to a 510MW water project at Zangmu.

With an average altitude of 4,500 metres, Brahmaputra, called Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet, is the world's highest river. It originates in the glacial regions of northern Himalayas, runs 2,057km through southwest China's Tibet autonomous region and passes into India and Bangladesh.


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