China downplays reports of sharing river waters with India

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Beijing, Oct 10: Playing down official media reports mooting a mechanism to share Brahmaputra river waters with India, China today said Beijing and New Delhi have "effective" cooperation to share data of the river flow and it is willing to continue it.

"China and India have appropriate cooperation mechanism on trans border rivers," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told PTI here.

China downplays reports on water sharing

"The mechanism has been functioning smoothly at present and has been effective. The Chinese side is willing to continue its cooperation with the Indian side on this," he said in a written response to a question about an article in state-run Global Times that stated China is ready to join a multilateral cooperation mechanism involving India and Bangladesh to share the waters.

The article said China is willing to have multilateral cooperation with India and Bangladesh to share the waters. The proposal is significant as China has no water treaty with India to share the river waters.

Read More: Brahmaputra dam not to affect flow to India: China

"It is easy to understand the anger of Indian people as they read recent news reports saying China had blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, which is a trans-boundary river flowing from Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region into the northeastern Indian state of Assam and later into Bangladesh, serving as an important water source for the regions," it said.

"Frankly, there is no need for India to overreact to such projects, which aim to help with reasonable development and utilisation of water resources," it said.

"However, what is worrying is that some local Indian media outlets linked the blockage with India's recent water dispute with Pakistan, trying to create the false impression that China may be interested in taking part in the so-called water war between the two South Asian countries to give Pakistan silent support.

However construction of the dam project on the tributary of the Brahmaputra started in June, 2014," it said. While it is understandable that India is sensitive to China's water exploitation on the Brahmaputra as a downstream country, it said "China is unlikely to use the waters of the river as a potential weapon".

Pointing that China is the source of several trans- boundary rivers including the Lancang-Mekong River, which runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, it said "If China blocked the Brahmaputra for political reasons, such a move would cause panic among the five Southeast Asian nations and therefore damage China's relationship with them".


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