NEW DELHI, Aug 4 – Amidst interruptions over China’s design to divert the Brahmaputra river, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh reiterated that the issue has been repeatedly discussed with the Chinese Premier and even with the Chinese President.
Making an intervention in the Rajya Sabha this morning following a hue and cry over the issue by a united Opposition including AGP and BJP, Dr Singh said “we have been assured that nothing will be done, which affects India’s interests adversely.”
“The sharing of water of rivers that are of inter-State importance can cause problems between two sovereign countries. India and China are neighbours. It is in our interest to have the best possible relations with China.”
“We trust what is said to us but we also verify. In this particular case, when the Minister has stated unambiguously that what is being alleged is merely a run-of-the-river project. “I think, that’s where the matter should be allowed to rest. I think, unnecessary provocation on either side can hurt the relations between the two countries,” the Prime Minister said.
However, unconvinced by the Prime Minister’s intervention, belligerent MPs demanded a special discussion on the issue. Several MPs including Opposition Leader Arun Jaitley, H K Dua, Biren Baishya, Kumar Deepak Das, Tarun Vijay and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari protested, calling for a special discussion.
Amidst interruptions, the chairman conceded and agreed to consider a notice for a short discussion.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna stressed on the need for Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to effectively utilize the catchment areas in their States. “It is important that the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam harness and utilize the waters of the Brahmaputra. I think, efforts from the media side should be redoubled in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to utilise Brahmaputra waters which are not being utilised properly,” Krishna said.
However, he added that the Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s national interest and takes all necessary measures to safeguard it.
“When the Government of China at the highest level assures the Prime Minister and at the level of the Foreign Minister assures the Foreign Minister and then we, on verification, have been convinced that there is no storage that is being built, it is only the run-of-the-river project, where is the question of protesting?
“We trust, but we also verify. And we have verified it and then we are convinced that it is a run-of-the-river project and it does not contain any reservoir. But we constantly keep surveillance and we constantly update it to see as to what is happening across the border, so that our national interest does not get thwarted,” the External Affairs Minister said.
“China does not have to take any positive action. When eighty per cent of the Brahmaputra catchment area is within India -- and I have repeatedly said this – it is for us, the Government of Assam and the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, to utilise the 80 per cent of catchment areas’ water that is available to us.”
Krishna said there is a mechanism where experts discuss issues regarding trans-border rivers. It was agreed to set up this mechanism in 2006. It has met five times, the latest being in Beijing in April 2011.
Earlier, HK Dua asked whether the Government is really satisfied with the assurances given by China that the flow of waters to our country will not be affected. Secondly, are they sharing the scientific data with us?
Dr EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, Biren Baishya, Tarun Vijay, among others participated in the discussions.
भोटी भाषा को आठवीं अनुसूची में शामिल करें: तरुण विजय