At the end of 2020, China announced a project to build a hydroelectric dam on the section of the Brahmaputra River that runs through Medog district in the Tibetan autonomous region.
Officials in this country introduced this as part of a renewable energy production initiative that will help achieve the goal of bringing emissions to zero by 2060, while also contributing to the development of Tibet.
|China intends to build a giant hydroelectric dam on the Brahmaputra River.|
Since 2010, China has started to build several small dams along the main stream of Brahmaputra. Up to now, there have been 2 completed projects and 3 under construction projects. The dam project on the river stretching through Medog is the largest, capable of generating 60 gigawatts of electricity – three times the Three Gorges dam project on the Yangtze River.
The Brahmaputra River (China called Yarlung Tsangpo) is one of the longest rivers in the world, originating from the Himalayas in Tibet and entering India in Arunachal Pradesh, passing through Assam state to Bangladesh, finally flowing into the bay. Bengal.
The river offers rich fisheries, sediments, plays an important role in water traffic but also causes catastrophic floods for the people of India and Bangladesh.
|Graphic of the Brahmaputra river upstream in China flowing through India.|
With the huge hydroelectric dam project on the Brahmaputra River, China continues to become a concern in India and Bangladesh.
A giant dam would retain a large amount of silt so the downstream nation’s agriculture would undoubtedly suffer.
China ensures this is a dam that obeys the normal flow of the river, does not divert flow and does not store water. But project experts are still able to reduce water downstream especially during the dry season.
Indian officials are also concerned about the dangers of flooding, which is dangerous for regions like Assam.
Furthermore, the Himalayas are very susceptible to earthquakes or other geological activity, so any infrastructure here poses a great threat to the communities living downstream of the Brahmaputra River.
Hydropower dams also threaten the ecosystem of the region, which has been severely damaged by melting ice, deforestation, and soil erosion.
China is home to many great rivers. With the construction of huge hydroelectric dams, which affect all security, economic and social activities … in the downstream country.
China’s upstream hydroelectric dams have long been viewed as a silent but dangerous weapon.
Indo-China has signed an agreement to share hydrological data of the river during the flood season (May to October every year) to help warn the downstream area. However, at the time of the 2017 border tensions, China stopped providing information for nearly a year, affecting its plans to ensure natural disasters and socio-economic development. .
Before China announced a new project on the Brahmaputra River, India was cautious.
|Indian fishermen working on the Brahmaputra River|
India called out for China to make sure not to harm the interests of downstream countries. The New Delhi government also plans to build a hydroelectric project in the Dibang valley in Arunachal Pradesh to minimize the negative impact that the Chinese hydroelectric dam will bring.
India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said at the weekly briefing that “the government is carefully monitoring all developments on the Brahmaputra River.”
“As a downstream riparian State, having significant use rights over the waters of transboundary rivers, the Indian government has continuously conveyed its views and concerns to Chinese authorities and urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not compromised by any activities in the upstream areas.
The Chinese side has repeatedly informed us that they are only working on river hydropower projects that are not related to Brahmaputra’s diversion.
Various issues related to transboundary rivers are discussed with China under the institutionalized Expertise Mechanism established in 2006, as well as through diplomatic channels.
We intend to continue to pay attention to China on the issue of transboundary rivers to protect our interests, “said the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India.