DHARAMSHALA: China has conducted 3-4 nuclear blasts in Tibet to divert the Brahmaputra river, raising India’s concern that its share of water would be reduced and that China could use it as a leverage against India by releasing water at anytime it wished, according to The Times of India, a leading Indian daily. (read news report)
The report stated that low-yield atomic blasts were reported at Metok county in Nyingtri Prefecture in South-eastern Tibet (CH: Moutou)close to Arunachal Pradesh in India and also near the Great Bend of the Brahmaputra. The blasts were aimed to clear Mountainous terrain to divert the river and conducted at significant depths to avoid detection, the report said, citing classified Indian Intelligence documents.
Apparently, the National Security Council (NSC) of India has also shared the information with the United States during the then American defence secretary Robert Gates, a former CIA director, during his visit to India in 2008. At the time, US authorities seem to have admitted to their Indian counterparts the complete failure of their satellites to detect the blasts.
India’s the then deputy national security adviser S D Pradhan have confirmed the blasts and the efforts made by India to confront the Chinese with the evidence. Other sources in the Research and Analysis Wing and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) too corroborated the information. However, the security establishment, particularly the NSC, sought to play down the “grave” issue, the report said.
The Indian authorities believe two factors have confirmed the March 2005 atomic blasts. First the unprecedented flooding of the river in 2005, believed to have been caused due to Chinese engineers’ efforts to divert the river water.
And secondly, Indian intelligence have noticed in October 2008, that Chinese engineers had begun work through Tibet’s Galung La mountain in Nyingtri prefecture near the Great Bend of the Brahmaputra, confirming yet again that nuclear blasts had taken place there earlier.
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have flatly denied that atomic blasts had been executed to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra. It has steadfastly claimed that all the dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo are run of the river.