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India lodges complaint with China against dams

Jan 31, 2013 10:21 PM IST India India

New Delhi: India has lodged a formal complaint with China against its move to build three dams on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet. India has asked Beijing in its complaint to ensure that the interests of Indian states are not harmed in the construction.

A document approved by the Chinese cabinet had recently mentioned three dams to be built at Dagu, Jiacha and Jiexu on Brahmaputra, much to the disquiet of India, which was not informed about the plans.

As a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the River, India has conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels of the Government of the People's Republic of China. India has urged China to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.

A 640 megawatt dam will be built in Dagu, a 340 megawatt dam will come up at Jiacha and while a third dam will be constructed at Jiexu. These are all in addition to the one already being built in Zangmu.

The Chinese say the Zangmu dam is a run of the river project, which means it will not store water. However, there is no clarity about the other dams.

China is also known to have ambitious plans to pipe Brahmaputra waters to the water starved northern provinces. It means less water will flow downstream into India. But getting China to to discuss these issues over the table has proved difficult.

Indian diplomats say China does first and talks afterwards, which results in strengthening Chinese bargaining position during negotiations on crucial issues such as river waters. India, apart from complaining, it seems, can do very little.