“Chinese government acknowledges the water resource disputes, and predicts a potential intensified controversy, which, however, will not trigger political and military turbulence,” an article in state-runGlobal Times said today.
The river waters issue is expected to figure prominently in the talks during Singh’s scheduled visit to China from October 22, besides discussion on recurring incursions by Chinese troops into Indian territory along the Sino-Indian border.
In the article titled ‘Indian threat-mongering over water resource disputes dangerous fantasy’, Li Zhefei of the National Institute of International Strategy, said disputes over water has become a contentious issue between the two countries which shares 16 major rivers.
He said the differences between the two countries are mainly triggered by utilisation of cross-border rivers.
“The feud over water resource allocation has sparked more claims in India that China poses a threat to the security of other countries. Moreover, India also relates the contention over water resources to its border dispute with China,” the article said.
Li claimed India also assumes that Beijing’s plans to build a number of dams onBrahmaputra river, known as Yarlung Zengbo in Tibet, poses a security threat, as China could raise water levels to cut off communications and drown Indian troops in the event of any hostility.
“India expects to put more pressure on China by exaggerating facts and drawing attention from the international community, with intention of preventing China from developing Tibetan water resources,” the article said.
“China should firmly resist such remarks and actions, and actively seek to address disputes by following the principles of peaceful negotiation and cooperation,” the article said.
“Furthermore, India has already set up dozens of hydropower stations in the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, attempting to reinforce its actual control and occupation of the disputed area,” the article said.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet. India has been highlighting its concerns over China’s plans to build a series of dams on Brahmaputra and pressing for a separate mechanism to deal with trans-border river flow.
China, however, has not shown inclination to move beyond the current ‘Expert Level Mechanism’ that deals with flood-season data of Satluj and Brahmaputra rivers, helping emergency management.
The issue also figured in a number of official level talks, including the fifth India-China Strategic dialogue in New Delhi.
India has said the proposal to construct dams at Dagu, Jiacha and Jiexu in Tibet would affect India, while China claims that they were just run-off-the-river project that would not hold water. The Zangmu Hydropower Station over Brahmaputra is scheduled to start operation next year.
Raising India’s concerns at a seminar here in August, India’s Ambassador to China S Jaishankar spoke about the importance of China addressing India’s concerns regarding China’s plans to construct new dams Brahmaputra and other rivers that flows into India from China.
“New thinking requires that we go beyond narrow legalistic approaches. It is natural that as neighbours, India and China will be confronted with situations that call for a larger political vision,” he said.
“A good example is the question of trans-border rivers, for some of which China provides hydrological data during flood season. There are worries in India about the possible impact of Chinese development projects on downstream areas. Both common development and mutual respect should warrant a more reassuring Chinese position”, Jaishankar said.