The government continues to carefully monitor the flow of the Brahmaputra river for early detection of abnormalities and to ensure that corrective and preventive measures are taken, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today. Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha on whether construction of dams by China on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra has contaminated its waters, the minister said the government has noted the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement denying such a link and that it was caused by an earthquake in the region and was not a manmade incident.
She also said India intends to “remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard our interest, including through an institutionalised expert-level mechanism which was established in 2006”. “As a lower riparian state with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the government has consistently conveyed its view and concerns to the Chinese authorities, including at the highest levels, and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas,” she said.
The minister said she also took up the issue with the Chinese foreign minister during his recent visit here in December. The Centre was in close cooperation with various state governments, which use the waters of the Brahmaputra river, Swaraj added.