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`China has assured us on Brahmaputra dam`

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said China has given an assurance that the dam it was building on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet will not harm India`s interest and "we trust" its statement.



New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday
said China has given an assurance that the dam it was building
on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet will not harm India`s
interest and "we trust" its statement.

"India and China are neighbours. It is in our interest to
have best possible relations with China...We have been assured
(by China) that nothing will be done that will affect India`s
interest," Singh told the Rajya Sabha.
He was intervening in the reply to a question put to
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during Question Hour.

Singh said the issue of construction of a dam at Zangmu,
on the Brahmaputra river in the Tibet Autonomous Region of
China, has been repeatedly discussed with China. It is a
run-of-the-river hydro-electric project which does not store
water.

"We trust (Chinese statements) but also verify," he said,
adding China has given an assurance that the dam on the river
will not in anyway hurt India`s interest.

Noting that the sharing of water of rivers which are of
inter-state importance can sometime cause problem, Singh said
the matter should be allowed to rest with the assurance given
by China. "Unnecessary provocation on either side can hurt
relations," he said.
Krishna earlier said the government was aware of the
construction activity at Zangmu. India had taken up this
matter China during the recent visit to India by Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao in December last year, he said.

"The Government has ascertained that this is a run-of-the-
river hydro-electric project, which does not store water and
will not adversely impact the downstream areas in India," he
said.

India trusts statements "when the Government of China at
the highest level assures the Prime Minister" on the dam,
Krishna said.

"We trust but we also verify. We have verified" Chinese
claims on the dam being run-of-the-river power project which
does not store water.

"We are convinced that it is a run-of-the-river project,"
he said. "We constantly keep our surveillance across the
border."

Krishna said 80 per cent of the catchment of the
Brahmaputra was within Indian territory. "It is important that
the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam harness and utilise
the waters of the Brahmaputra.

"The Chinese Premier said that China`s development of
upstream areas will be on the basis of scientific planning and
study and will never harm downstream interests," he added.

PTI

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