War is Boring: China Dam Project Stokes Regional Tensions

War is Boring: China Dam Project Stokes Regional Tensions

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna returned from Beijing this month with bombshell news. Krishna said Chinese authorities had finally admitted what the Indian government had long suspected: Beijing is building a massive, power-generating dam on China's Tsang Po river, which also runs through India -- where it is known as the Brahmaputra -- and Bangladesh.

Amid protests, Krishna reassured the public. "We have an expert-level mechanism to address the issue," the minister said during a meeting of parliament, according to press reports. "A meeting of experts from both India and China is scheduled to take place between April 26-29 in Delhi.''

The Tsang Po dam is just one of five such facilities China admits to building on waters it shares with India. Once completed, the dam could disrupt fresh-water supplies and agriculture for tens of millions of South Asians living downstream. Beijing insists the dam is necessary to supply electricity to its booming economy -- and will have little effect on downstream communities. But to India, its construction could be tantamount to a declaration of war as the region's water resources come under greater pressure from growing populations.

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