Under the China’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) (14th FYP), China has proposed hydro power project on River Brahmaputra in Tibet. The Hydropower project has been proposed by the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The 18th Central Committee prepared the 14th five-year plan and the long-term goals through 2035 of China.

The riparian states of the Brahmaputra river such as Bangladesh and India have raised concerns against the proposal.

Hydroelectric potential of Brahmaputra river in Tibet

The Brahmaputra river also known as Yarlung Zangpo in the region. According to the Chinese Communist Party, the river has the richest water resources in the Tibet autonomous region (TAR). It has a potential to generate 80 million kw hours. On the flip side, the 50-km section of the river’s Grand Canyon alone has potential to develop 70 million kw hours which could be easily generated with just 2000m drop. This equals more than three gorgeous power stations installed in the Hubei province ( landlocked province).

Bottomline, the Tibet autonomous region of the river Brahmaputra has higher potential to generate hydroelectric power as compared to the other stretches of the river.

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon

A Grand Canyon is the deep cleft between the cliffs that are formed due to the erosive activity of river. Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon (Brahmaputra Grand Canyon or the Yarlung Zangpo Grand Canyon) is the deepest Canyon in the world.

India’s concerns

The Government of India has been consistently conveying its concern to the Chinese Communist Party and has urged to ensure that Dam construction from the Chinese side does not harm interest of the downstream states. In spite of repeated insistence from India, in 2015, China operationalised $1.5 billion hydro power station in Tibet autonomous region.

Tibet‘s Hydropower

The Hydropower in Tibet has more than 200 million kw hour of water resources. The Hydropower accounts to 30 per cent of total hydroelectric power of China.

Chinese stance

According to Chinese Communist Party, the Hydropower project will help China in achieving its carbon neutrality goal by 2060. The hydro power station has the capability to generate $3 billion of income every year for the TAR.

India-China expert level mechanism on transborder rivers

The expert level mechanism was established in 2006. The 12th meeting of the expert level mechanism was held in June 2019.

The expert level mechanism was established to discuss issues related to transport the rivers. Both countries have also signed MoU according to which China shall produce information of Sutlej and Brahmaputra river during the flood Seasons. China proposed Hydropower project in Brahmaputra China proposed Hydropower project in Brahmaputra