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India opposes China building dam on Brahmaputra

October 15, 2009 19:51 IST

India on Thursday said it was opposed to construction of a dam by China on Brahmaputra river and that it was verifying whether such a project is being pursued despite denials.

The external affairs ministry said India had earlier conveyed its reservations to building of such a dam and China had "categorically denied" any plans in this regard.

Noting that there had been three expert-level meetings on the issue since 2006, external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said, "The Indian side has taken up with the Chinese side reports about the construction of a large-scale dam or diversion project in the Brahmaputra."

His comment came in the wake of a media report that China had begun constructing a dam on the river as part of the Nagmu hydroelectric project, which was inaugurated on March 16.

Prakash said the Indian side had conveyed to China that such a project might have significant impact on the socio-economic condition of people living downstream.

"The Indian side has also expressed the hope that the Chinese side will not undertake such a large-scale project or divert the waters of the Brahmaputra," he said.

"We are looking into the said newspaper report to ascertain whether there are recent developments that suggest any change in the position conveyed to us by the government of China," he said.

The 116-metre tall and 389.5-metre long dam is expected to generate 540 MW of power. The MEA spokesman noted that the India-China expert-level mechanism was set up in November 2006 to discuss river issues in an institutional way, keeping in mind that the river is an economic resource for the development of the local communities in the two countries.

The Brahmaputra flows for about 1,625 km inside the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China and for a further 918 km inside India. During the three meetings of the expert-level mechanism that have been held so far, the two sides have exchanged flood data.

The Indian statement on China's plans on the dam comes amidst the war of words between the two countries over the state of Arunachal and New Delhi's assertiveness reflected in objection to Chinese engagement in projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

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