GUWAHATI, March 4 � India does not have a strong case against China as per international laws if the neighbouring country decides to divert the river Brahmaputra to meet its water requirement. Though the issue is being discussed by the Committee of Secretaries of the Government of India for years, no step has yet been taken to practically use the water of the river.
Highly placed official sources in New Delhi told The Assam Tribune that so far India does not have any evidence of China diverting the water of Brahmaputra river and only two run-of-the-river projects have been set up. But according to information available with the Government of India, China carried out a survey on probable diversion of water of Tsangpo river (Brahmaputra is called Tsangpo in China) to meet the water requirements of some parts of the country and the possibility of diversion of water of the river in the days to come cannot be ruled out.
Sources said that according to information available, parts of China are facing severe water crisis and though the Government of China has been assuring India that it would not divert the Brahmaputra, it would not be safe to believe the Chinese blindly and there have also been reports that some channels to the water scarce areas were constructed by the Chinese. Of course, those have not yet been connected to the Brahmaputra, but such a possibility in the days to come cannot be ruled out.
Unfortunately, India is hardly using the water of Brahmaputra to stake claim under the provisions of the international water users� rights to prevent China from diverting water of the river. Sources pointed out that as per international laws, the water users� rights of the low riparian countries must be protected but as India has hardly been using water of Brahmaputra, nothing can stop China from diverting its water.
Sources revealed that the Committee of Secretaries of the Government of India, which is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, has been discussing the issue since 2006 and though the Committee is of the view that India must make optimum use of the water of Brahmaputra, nothing has come up on the ground so far. The Committee met for the last time in December and at every meeting the issue is being discussed.
Official sources pointed out that so far, different schemes and projects have been taken up on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra, which originated within India itself and such projects would not be enough to deter China from diverting the Brahmaputra. There is urgent need for making optimum use of the Brahmaputra water and the Ministries of Power and Water Resources must take up schemes immediately to prevent any attempt by China to divert Brahmaputra, sources admitted.