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China dam no cause for immediate concern: India

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, June 14 (IANS): India Tuesday said a Chinese dam on the Bhahmaputra river was not a cause for "immediate alarm", downplaying fears that the project would impact the country.

"It is a fact that China is constructing a dam at Zangmu in the middle reaches of Yarlung Tsango (as the Brahmaputra is called in Tibet)," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here.

"We have ascertained from our own sources that this a run of the river hydro-electric project which does not store water and will not adversely impact downstream areas in India.

"Therefore, I believe there is no cause for immediate alarm," he said replying to a question on China's dam construction on the Brahmaputra.

He, however, noted that media reports on the subject were "not new but based on previously known facts" that Beijing planned to construct the dam to possibly divert the river to the northern part of China.

Pointing out that a large portion of the catchment area of Brahmaputra was within India, Krishna said: "It is important that states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam harness and utilise the waters of Brahmaputra. This is a really a very important issue."

Krishna, who left for Kazakhstan today to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, said he was not sure whether bilateral issues between India and China would be raised there.

"But nonetheless, let me assure my countrymen that India is very closely monitoring all the movements and as I said it is for Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to utilise the full potential of Brahmaputra water," he added.

On Arunachal Pradesh raising alarm over a Kargil-like situation along the borders with China, Krishna said Indian military capabilities were second to none.

"I think the security...the defence of our borders is being constantly monitored... not only by the ministry of defence but by other agencies too. It is our conviction that India's defence capabilities are second to none," he said.

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