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No immediate alarm on China dam on Brahmaputra

New Delhi: India today downplayed apprehensions that a dam being constructed by China on river Brahmaputra will affect the country, saying the project is not a cause for "immediate alarm".

"It is a fact that China is constructing a dam at Zangmu in middle reaches of Yarlung Tsango (as Brahmaputra is called in Tibet). We have ascertained from our own sources that this a run of the river hydro-electric project which does not store water and will not adversely impact downstream areas in India," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said.

"Therefore, I believe there is no cause for immediate alarm," he told reporters while replying to a question on reports of construction of a dam by China on Brahmaputra River.

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Krishna also said that recent reports about Chinese plans to construct a dam on the Brahmaputra and possibly divert the river waters to Northern China are "not new but based on previously known facts".

Noting that a large portion of the catchment area of Brahmaputra is within Indian territory, Krishna said, "It is important that states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam harness and utilise the waters of Brahmaputra. This is a really a very important issue."

Krishna, who left for Kazakhstan today to attend the Sanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, said he was not sure whether bilateral issues between India and China would be raised there.

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