China will build a major hydropower project in Medog, which is the last country in Tibet. The structure is planned in such a way that it will span the Brahmaputra river before the waterway leaves the Himalayas and flows into India. For formulating the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the new project was put forward in the proposals.
Why The Plan is Considered a “Bad Idea” by Environmentalists?
The environmentalists are against the plan of China for various reasons. The area contains huge biodiversity and is also well known for seismic activity. Rather the dam would block the migration of fish and it will also stop the sediment flow that enriches the soil during seasonal floods downstream. Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, an environmental policy specialist at the Tibet Policy Institute stated that there are both ecological and political risks if the dam is built. He said, “We have a very rich Tibetan cultural heritage in those areas, and any dam construction would cause ecological destruction, submergence of parts of that region”. He further added, “Many local residents would be forced to leave their ancestral homes”.
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Response of The Indian Government to China’s Plan
The Indian Government has asserted plans to build new dams on the Brahmaputra. In response to China’s plans, India has decided to shore up its water reserves. New Delhi is worried about the project. Experts stated that China may respond to the dam-building plan of India by speeding up its projects.
TPT Policy Advocacy & Recommendations
- India would be highly affected by the dam. The huge dam could hold back a massive amount of silt carried by the river which in turn could affect farming in the areas downstream. Also, the release of water from the dams could be disastrous for Assam as it experiences floods during monsoons.
- The new dam of China is a major concern for India. India needs to safeguard its strategic interests. This is the high time when the country needs to flex more diplomatic muscle to assert and maintain its rights over the Brahmaputra.