Justifying its move to blockade a tributary of the Brahmaputra to construct a dam, China today sought to allay apprehensions that it would effect the river flow into India saying that there will be no adverse impact on downstream areas.
Terming the Lalho dam project on the Xiabuqu river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra which is locally called as Yarlung Zangbo, as an important livelihood project to address food security and flood safety in Tibet, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the tributary river is located completely within the Chinese side.
“The reservoir capacity of the project is less than 0.02 per cent of the average annual runoff of the Yarlung Zangbo- Brahmaputra. It cannot have an adverse impact on the downstream,” Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written reply to PTI when asked about India’s concerns over the dam.
Brahmaputra flows from Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and later into Bangladesh.
On October 1, China announced the blockade of Xiabuqu river in Tibet as part of the construction of its “most expensive” dam project.
The Lalho project on Xiabuqu River a tributary in Xigaze in Tibet involves an investment of USD 740 million. Referring to the Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) on trans-border rivers between India and China, the Chinese foreign ministry said both the countries have been carrying out good cooperation on trans-border rivers for a long time.
“Proceeding from the larger picture of China-India friendship and from the humanitarian angle, the Chinese side has overcome all kinds of difficulties, and has provided services to the Indian side such as flood season hydrological data and emergency management, and has played a positive role in areas such as flood and disaster control along the banks of the relevant rivers,” the ministry said.
“China is willing to continue relevant cooperation with the Indian side through the existing expert level mechanism on trans-border rivers,” it said.
India had said it would take up with China the issue of its blocking the Brahmaputra tributary
“We have conveyed to the Chinese side that they should be mindful of the interests of the lower riparian country while undertaking any projects on these rivers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said.