Modi must discuss China’s contentious dam on Brahmaputra river

China damASSAM: A day after Chinese president Xi Jinping arrived in India in his first-ever tour of India, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue of construction of dams on the Brahmaputra river by China with the visiting dignitary.

Gogoi, in a letter to PM Modi, said there have been serious concerns about the construction of a series of dams by China on the Brahmaputra that would adversely impact downstream flows, official sources said.

“It is feared that construction of the dams is likely to trigger fresh concerns on how the flows of the Brahmaputra downstream will be impacted. It would be most appropriate to convey India’s concerns to the visiting Chinese President,” Gogoi, in his letter to the prime minister said. The Assam government has been all along raising the issue at the highest level, he added.

The 2880-km Brahmaputra originates in Tibet, flows about 1650 kms in China, 918 kms in India and 337 kms in Bangladesh before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal.

While China’s 510-mw Zangmu dam on the Tsangpo – as the Brahmaputra is known in that country – is scheduled to be commissioned in 2015, there have been fears that the river’s water would get diverted, leaving little for India.

Chief minister Gogoi also told the prime minister that he hoped that the Chinese President’s visit would help deepen trade ties and boost Chinese investment in India, particularly in Assam and other Northeast states.

“As the visiting Chinese President is expected to pledge billions of dollars in investment, including plans for Chinese-funded industrial parks, we hope to get a fair share of it in infrastructure and other sectors in Assam,” Gogoi said. – From The Indian Express

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