India Seeks Brahmaputra Bilateral Mechanism With China

13 Feb 2013 - 00:00 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

NEW DELHI, India

India is urging China to adopt a bilateral mechanism to deal with contentious water issues between the two countries, particularly the continuing stand-off over the waters of Brahmaputra River.

One of the proposals suggested in India is a permanent water commission along the lines of the one between India and Pakistan. Officials in India have also proposed an inter-governmental dialogue or a treaty to deal with the bilateral water issues. India has water treaties with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The proposals come at a time when both countries have hardened their positions regarding the Brahmaputra River in recent weeks.

This month, China reportedly approved construction of three more dams on the river in Tibet, with its foreign office saying that the country has "fully considered" the impact of the dams and that the projects will not affect water flows to downstream India.

India, too, is moving fast to construct some 200 dams of varying sizes in the river basin in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, including the 800 megawatt Tawang 2 hydropower project.

The Tawang project, approval for which had been pending for years, has now been fast-tracked; the government approved the mega project last week.
Local news reports this week indicate that the issue of a bilateral mechanism was brought up during a recent visit by a senior Chinese Embassy official to India's External Affairs Ministry. During the visit, the Chinese official apprised India of the construction proposal for the three dams.

Experts have said the two countries would be better off signing a bilateral water treaty, as demand for water in the region is growing at a face pace.
"For India, a bilateral treaty with China over the Brahmaputra -- like the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan -- would provide a framework under which several projects and water usage decisions can be taken up," a senior Water Resources Ministry official told OOSKAnews this week.

Posted 22/02/2013 10:07 by Andrew Allns

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