China stoops to new low; plans to weaponise Brahmaputra against India [Explained]


China is vigorously terrorizing India with its unfounded territorial claims, using underhand tactics and fake propaganda. Now, it wants to stoop to a new low by turning the natural stream of Brahmaputra river – one of the world’s longest rivers in the world – into a weapon it can use to leverage against nations downstream to its ill gains.

To give a context here, Brahmaputra flows from Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh into Assam and then into Bangladesh. In view of this, China’s proposed plan to build a hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river could have serious repercussions with its neighbouring countries. All this while India and China are already in the middle of a tense faceoff in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control.

Last month, the Chinese media reported that Beijing is now planning to “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River. For the unversed, Yarlung Zangbo River is the Tibetian name for the Brahmaputra and China controls Tibet.

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard on the banks of the river Brahmaputra

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard on the banks of the river Brahmaputra.REUTERS/Utpal Baruah

To recall, China has been building dams on the Brahmaputra for several years and work on the Zam hydropower station – the largest dam on the river – started in 2015. China has been secretive about its dams and failed to clarify if the ones built on the Brahmaputra are run-of-river or storage dams.

China’s secrecy was exposed when an IDSA report pointed out recently that the dams it has built on the Brahmaputra are large enough to be turned into storage dams. Now, it could use this to perhaps deprive India of water during dry seasons.

China is hitting itself in the foot

When it comes to feeding its own interests, China hasn’t hesitated to throw its “friendly” neighbours, including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, and North Korea, under the bus. But the weaponising Brahmaputra through its stealth operations could have impacts on not just India and Bangladesh, but even the tiny Bhutan. But China is not immune to its actions, as there will be consequences, dire ones.

India China relations


China is posing a threat to its own people through these dams, which have harmed the ecosystems like disrupting annual flooding cycle and causing river fragmentation. One good example of it is displacing millions of Chinese in August after record flooding endangered the Three Gorges Dam, which is the world’s largest dam on the Yangtze River. But the mega-dam on the Brahmaputra, which is to be bigger than Three Gorges Dam, is to collapse then millions of lives could be lost.

Any attempt to disrupt the free flow of the natural rivers could have global implications.

India’s countermeasure

Yarlung Tsangpo river

The Yarlung Tsangpo river.Creative Commons

In response to China’s intentions, India is already preparing itself to render Beijing’s ill-fated intentions useless. Earlier this month, India announced plans to build a 10,000MW multipurpose reservoir in Arunachal Pradesh, which will counter China’s attempt to weaponise the Brahmaputra.

India has been well aware of China’s intentions with all of its dam-building activities and it is not taking any chances and not willing to just take China on its

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