China Plans To Build Downstream Dams On Brahmaputra:
In its new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), China has proposed to build the first dams on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet before it flows into India.
- Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.
- China’s dam-building overdrive is a concern because there are no bilateral or multilateral treaties on the water.
- China believes dam building on the Brahmaputra helps it assert a claim over Arunachal Pradesh.
- India believes China’s projects in the Tibetan plateau threaten to reduce river flows into India.
- Dams, canals, irrigation systems can turn water into a political weapon to be wielded in war, or during peace to signal annoyance with a co-riparian state.
- Denial of hydrological data becomes critical when the flow in the river is very high.
- China is contemplating northward re-routing of the Yarlung Zangbo.
- Diversion of the Brahmaputra is an idea China does not discuss in public, because it implies devastating India’s northeastern plains and Bangladesh, either with floods or reduced water flow.