China will take into consideration the interest of other countries before firming up any plan to develop a dam on the Yarlung Tsangbo river, which flows into India and Bangladesh, a Chinese official in New Delhi said on Wednesday.
On Monday, Chinese state media reported the country could build up to 60 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower capacity in the lower reaches of the river, known as the Brahmaputra in India.
The report raised concerns in India and Bangladesh, with authorities fearing that Chinese projects could trigger flash floods or create intense water scarcity.
Ji Rong, an official at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, said that downstream development of the river was at a “preliminary planning and demonstration” stage.
“Any project will undergo scientific planning and demonstration with full consideration for the impact on the downstream areas and the interests of both upstream and downstream countries,” she said in a statement.
The Brahmaputra is one of India’s largest and most important rivers, cutting through the northeastern part of the country, before entering Bangladesh.
To offset any upstream Chinese construction, India is considering building a 10 GW hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian official said on Tuesday.
Diplomatic relations between the neighbouring nuclear powers are strained after clashes on a remote Himalayan border this summer, where thousands on troops remained deployed in the biting cold.