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No threat from China dam on Brahmaputra: Manmohan

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Aug 4 (IANS): Allaying fears that the flow of northeastern Brahmaputra river would be affected by a dam being built in China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said it was only a "run-of-river dam".

"What has been alleged is only a run-of-river dam," the prime minister told the Rajya Sabha, intervening in the reply to a question addressed to the external affairs minister.

The prime minister said that India and China are neighbours and it is in India's interest "to have best possible relations with China".

"Unnecessary revocation of the other side can hurt the relation," he said.

The prime minister added, "At the same time, the issue of Brahmaputra and other rivers has been repeatedly discussed. We have been assured."

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that India has been assured by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his December 2010 visit that the dam will have no ill effects on the downstream area of Brahmaputra in India.

"Almost 80 percent of the catchment of Brahmaputra river is in India. Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh should make plans to utilise that water which is not being used," Krishna said.

"Government keeps a constant watch on all developments, having a bearing on India's national interest," he added.

China is reportedly building a dam on Tsangpo river, the source river of Brahmaputra, raising fears that the river's flow would be affected.

The Brahmaputra is the largest river of northeastern India, and agriculture and economy of the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are highly dependent on the river.

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