Maintaining that its move to build three more dams on Brahmaputra river in Tibet will not affect the flows to down stream areas, China today said it is 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 a media briefing here.

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

Hua did not specify whether the two countries are 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 the 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 the 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 remained the same in recent years.

“We fully considered the impact of the down stream 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 510 MW water project at Zangmu.

With an average altitude of 4,500 meters, Brahmaputra, called Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet, is the world’s highest river.

It originates in the glacial regions of the northern Himalayas, runs 2,057 km through southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region, passes into India and Bangladesh.

(This article was published on February 4, 2013)
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