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China builds world's highest dam, India fears water theft

April 26, 2010

The dam will rise to 3,260 meters, on Yarlung Zangbo River (Brahmaputra,
for Indians) using special materials and techniques. But India notes
that the river is essential to the lives of millions of people and calls
for assurances that Beijing does not seem to want to give. For that zone
a war was fought that has never officially ended.

Beijing, April 23 - (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has admitted that it
is building a dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River. The river originates in
Tibet, but then flows into India where it is called Brahmaputra and is a
major water source for millions of people. Moreover, the dam will be
built in the area near the border disputed between the two countries.

China outlined the project this month, in a private meeting with Indian
Foreign Minister S M Krishna. The dam will be built in Zangmu at a
height of 3,260 meters, in the Shannan Prefecture in Tibet and nearby
four other dams will also be built in the valley between Jiacha and
Sangro counties. Official sources said yesterday that the overall
capacity of the dams will be "several times" more than the gigantic
Three Gorges Dam. Because of its altitude, the area is often subjected
to extreme weather conditions and special materials and technologies
will be used, developed by the Chinese space agency. For example special
cement made at the laboratories of the Xichang satellite launch Centre.

Beijing plans to draw from the Dangmu dam no less than 500 megawatts of
electricity to meet the growing demand for Guangdong and Hong Kong and
sell it to neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh,
Laos and Cambodia.

India is however very worried about the plan, fearing a decrease in the
flow of the river water in India and the destruction of ?the Himalayas
ecosystem. Above all the agriculture and industry of the north-eastern
states of India depend heavily on the Brahmaputra river.

In addition, with this project China will directly control more than 90
thousand square meters of land the sovereignty of which is disputed
between India and China, who fought a war that has never formally ended
and who still station armed forces in the area. China responds that the
dam will allow it to develop clean energy and reduce carbon dioxide
emissions resulting from coal fired power plants.

Experts say that, however, Beijing has not responded to Indian concerns
over the decline of the Brahmaputra river. Indian sources have observed
that even if the dam is located in Chinese territory, however,
international law provides that the work should not diminish the course
of the river. Similarly, Beijing has never responded to the concerns of
Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia over the Chinese dams on the Mekong
River in Yunnan.

India appears on the brink of raising its concerns at an international
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