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India To Take Up With China Blocking Of Brahmaputra Tributary

India will take up with China the issue of its blocking a tributary of Brahmaputra in Tibet to facilitate construction of Beijing's "most expensive" hydro-power project, External Affairs Ministry said today.

"We have conveyed to the Chinese side that they should be mindful of the interests of the lower riparian country while undertaking any projects on these rivers. The Chinese side has conveyed on several occasions that they are only undertaking run-of-the-river hydro power projects which do not involve diversion of the waters of the Brahmaputra. "All relevant issues which occurred after the last meeting will be taken up at the next meeting of the expert level mechanism," MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

China has blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet as part of the construction of its hydro project, which is causing concern in India as it may impact the water flow into the country, including states like Assam.

The Lalho project on Xiabuqu river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Tibet's Xigaze, is being constructed with an investment of of 4.95 billion yuan (USD 740 million), making it the most expensive project in China, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua last week. The construction work on the project began in June, 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Mr Swarup also talked about various bilateral mechanisms between India and China to deal with river water issues. "We have a bilateral agreement with China to share information on cross-border rivers which include Brahmaputra and Sutlej. We also have an expert level mechanism which meets regularly to discuss issues concerning cross-border rivers. We have a data sharing arrangement under which the Chinese side provides us data during flood season on Brahmaputra and Sutlej. This arrangement has been useful in preventing damage during flood season specially during landslides which create temporary dams," he added.

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