India is considering a plan to build a 10-gigawatt (GW) hydropower project in a remote eastern state, an Indian official said on Tuesday, following reports that China could construct dams on a section of the Brahmaputra river. The river, also known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, flows from Tibet into India’s Arunachal Pradesh state and down through Assam to Bangladesh.
The need of the hour is to have a big dam in Arunachal Pradesh to mitigate the adverse impact of the Chinese dam projects,” TS Mehra, a senior official in India’s federal water ministry, told the Reuters news agency. “Our proposal is under consideration at the highest level in the government,” Mehra said, adding the Indian plan would create a large water storage capacity to offset the effect of Chinese dams on water flows. Diplomatic relations between India and China are at a nadir, with troops locked in a border face-off in the western Himalayas for months. “India is facing China’s terrestrial aggression in the Himalayas, maritime encroachments on its back yard and, as the latest news is a reminder, even water wars,” Brahma Chellaney, a specialist on India-China ties, said in a tweet. On Monday, Chinese state media reported the country could build up to 60 GW of hydropower capacity on a section of the Brahmaputra, citing a senior executive.