Chinese state media quelled India’s apprehension about its neighbour China’s dam ambition along the Brahmaputra River by stating that it was building dams closer to its provinces. India had earlier express concerns about China’s purported plan to build dams along the Brahmaputra River and divert the flow of water.
A media report last month had claimed that China was planning to build a 1,000-km long tunnel to divert water from the Brahmaputra River in Tibet which is known as Yarlung Tsangpo.
The Global Times stated that “the Jinsha, Lancang and Nujiang rivers are famous waterways in Tibet with enormous hydropower potential, but they do not run through India.”
India’s consternation was triggered in 2014 when the Zangmu dam constructed over the Brahmaputra became partially operational. This was one of the first major hydropower project overtaken by China.
“This does not necessarily mean hydropower stations in transboundary rivers flowing from China to India, such as the Yarlung Zangbo River (Brahmaputra), will be isolated from the plan to transfer Tibet’s electricity out, but they may be not the first choice,” stated the article.
It also said that the exploitation of hydropower resources will be concentrated on regions along the Jinsha River, Lancang River and Nujiang River which are closely interlinked near Tibetan provinces.
“To transfer Tibet’s electricity out, the exploitation of hydropower resources in the region is likely to be mainly concentrated on the Jinsha River, Lancang River and Nujiang River, which are located close to the border area between Tibet and other Chinese provinces,” it said.
China’s hydropower ambitions have long been a growing concern for India which is mainly dependant on rivers flowing from Tibet. While China has expressed that it’s ambitions will not create dissension with India, the long term repercussions of the plans remain to be seen.