Proposals for dams on the Brahmaputra have evoked concerns in the riparian states - India and Bangladesh - although China has claimed to keep the regional interests in mind
China will build a major hydropower project on Brahmaputra River (Yarlung Zangbo River) in Tibet, which is one of the major waters in Asia that also passes through India and Bangladesh.
A proposal for this has been clearly put forward in the 14th Five-Year Plan and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to be implemented from next year, the official media quoted Yan Zhiyong, the chairman of the Power Construction Corp (POWERCHINA) of China tasked to build the dam.
Yan Zhiyong said China will "implement the hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River" (the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra) and the project would serve to maintain water resources and national security, the Global Times reported.
Details of the plan were expected to be released after the formal ratification by National People's Congress (NPC) early next year.
Proposals for dams on the Brahmaputra have evoked concerns in the riparian states - India and Bangladesh - although China has claimed to keep the regional interests in mind.
As a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the Indian government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.
In his address, the POWERCHINA chairman said that the historic hydropower exploitation of the Yarlung Zangbo River downstream is more than a hydropower project. It is also meaningful for the environment, national security, living standards, energy and international cooperation.
He said, the 60 million kWh hydropower would provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually promoting China's goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060.
Reportedly, the hydropower station could generate income of 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) annually for the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035 were adopted by Plenum - a key policy body of the CPC - last month.
In 2015, China operationalised the USD 1.5 billion Zam Hydropower Station, the largest in Tibet.
The Global Times report said that speculation about China planning to build a "super hydropower station" in Medog county, where the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is located, have circulated for years.
Medog is the last county in Tibet which borders India's Arunachal Pradesh.
Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times stressed that hydropower projects on cross-border rivers cannot be developed without communication and cooperation between upstream and downstream countries.
"The hydropower development of the Yarlung Zangbo River will provide more opportunities for cooperation between China and South Asian countries through dialogue and establishment of cooperation mechanisms to promote the comprehensive utilization and development of water resources," he added.
India and China established Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) in 2006 to discuss various issues related to trans-border Rivers, Outlook India reported.
Under existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides hydrological information of Brahmaputra River and Sutlej River to India during the flood seasons.
Under the arrangement, China provides flood season data of the Brahmaputra River between May 15 and October 15 every year.