China Builds New Dam in Tibet - The Hindu - 23/01/23

China is constructing a new dam on the Mabja Zangbo river in Tibet, close to the tri-junction of India, Nepal and Tibet, raising concerns since China has ramped up creation of military and dual use infrastructure and in the eastern and western sectors of the LAC (Line of Actual Control).
-The development comes in the wake of China unveiling plans in 2021 to build a massive dam on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo to generate up to 70 GW of power, three times that of the country’s Three Gorges dam, which is the world’s largest hydropower plant in terms of installed capacity.

->Location of The Dam: The new dam is located around 16 km north of the tri-junction and is opposite the Kalapani area of Uttarakhand. The dam is on the Mabja Zangbo river, a tributary of the Ganga.

i. Dominance over Water: China is building an embankment type dam with a reservoir, which raises concerns regarding China’s future control on water in the region.
ii. Likelihood of Military Etablishment: In addition to using water as leverage, the possibility of a military establishment by China near the tri-junction cannot be ruled out as the country had developed the same in the Yarlung Zangbo river near Arunachal Pradesh.
iii. Water Scarcity: China can use this dam to not only divert but also store water which could lead to a scarcity in the regions dependent on the Mabja Zangbo river and also lead to lower water levels in rivers such as the Ghaghara and the Karnali in Nepal.
iv. Reinforce Chinese Claims over disputed region: Dams close to the border could be used by China to strengthen its claim on the disputed areas in the region.

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