India, China and The Himalayan Rivers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his 3-nations tour of China, Mongolia and South Korea this Thursday. It all started with a visit to Xian, the native of Chinese President Xi Jinping. A delegation level talk was organised to discuss on various important issues.

According to a senior spokesperson, both nations had a long detailed talk on issues like border issues, peace and tranquility, connectivity, terrorism, trade imbalance and several other issues which have been talked about from several decades between the Asian powerhouse neighbors. One such important issue was the water sharing issue and the concerns of Indian states on the planned dam construction on river Tsangpo in Tibet, China. This issue has been brought out many a times at this level confirming the alarming situation of India’s North-east states due to the Chinese plans.

Image Credits : http://goo.gl/A5v06t

Image Credits : http://goo.gl/A5v06t

China is world’s most prolific builder of hydro-power dams and its neighbors downstream, fear of Beijing’s tight hold on the rivers flowing through their areas. China has mapped out three dam projects on the river Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet which remains a major concern for India.

Activists and experts in hydro-logical relations point out the possibility of disputes over energy sources which may also lead to water sharing problems between the two Asian giants. The Tibetan river enters India through the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Brahmaputra and crosses Assam on its way to Bangladesh. It holds an economical and historical importance in these regions and it generates huge revenue for these states and the people living there.

China is in race with its neighbors to grab the Himalayan water content and harness its needs through several other projects. This idea may also lead to a negative impact on people’s livelihood and native habitat in North-eastern states of India as well as parts of Bangladesh. Environmentalists also refer to disasters such as heavy flooding of regions and vulnerability to earthquakes as a result of dam construction in those areas. Also one of the Chinese projects includes taping water from its southern plateau rivers to its drier northern parts. This will in turn disrupt the groundwater flow in downstream regions of India and also might lead to a condition of severe drought.

There has been an appeal from Indian government which includes Assam’s Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s recent message to Prime Minister to raise out the issue to their Chinese counterparts to make sure that their ambitious plans shouldn’t affect India’s ecological balance in North-eastern states.

Image Credits : http://goo.gl/31EQ0R

Image Credits : http://goo.gl/31EQ0R

Apart from governmental agencies, activists from both sides have been informing about the impacts of such projects on people’s life and their future in areas near these rivers. India, Bangladesh along with some other South-east Asian nations has brought out the issue at meetings such as SAARC and ASEAN depicting the growing strong hold of China on their rivers and its impact on their people.

There has been a positive start from all spheres and hopefully the Asian giants pave out a new way for a bright future for their people keeping in mind the ecological balance of the regions.

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