Yarlung Zangbo River, Tibet China
A bridge over Yarlung Zangbo River, Tibet China.Creative Commons/Arati Kumar-Rao

As China completes construction of the first section of a hydropower dam on the Brahmaputra in Tibet, New Delhi fears flash floods and landslides in the downstream areas of northeast India.

The dam constructed on the Himalayan river – Yarlung Zangbo–might pose a major threat to India due to floods and related calamities and will likely affect the Brahmaputra's flow in to Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the northeastern region of India, The Times of India reported.

India was not much concerned earlier about the construction as China had assured that it was building only small dams for electricity generation, which will not have any environmental impact.

"China has always taken a responsible attitude towards cross-border river development. The construction of the stations will not impact flood control or disaster reduction efforts, as well as the ecological environment on the lower reaches," TOI quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying as saying.

However, India later learnt that the dam was part of a massive five-dam project to generate 2,000MW of hydro power and can cause great damage to the lower Indian regions.

India has decided to study the impact the dam may cause on the Brahmaputra. However, experts believe that such a delayed reaction will be of no use after China has completed the dam construction at all levels.

China has completed the construction of the first section of Zangmu Hydropower Station and other five sections will be finished next year. The Zangmu section has the capacity to generate 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

The "huge project, which straddles the middle reaches of the roaring Yarlung Zangbo River, (which) will have power capacity of 510,000kW after its four-year construction," the Chinese government said on Sunday.

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