India is rapidly constructing power plants in a region that is also claimed by China

by Abbas Adil

Shafaqna India: India is moving swiftly to allocate $1 billion for the accelerated construction of 12 hydropower stations in Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern Himalayan state. This initiative, approved by the federal finance ministry under Nirmala Sitharaman, aims to support the development of critical infrastructure in the region, which is claimed by China.

Each of these hydropower projects is set to receive financial assistance of up to 7.5 billion rupees ($89.85 million), totaling approximately 90 billion rupees for all 12 projects, according to sources familiar with the matter. The scheme is designed to involve northeastern state governments, facilitating their participation in project ownership, regulatory approvals, local rehabilitation efforts, and electricity sharing negotiations.

The formal announcement of these plans is expected during India’s 2024/2025 federal budget presentation in July, as sources cited confidentiality in discussing the matter. Government entities including the finance and power ministries, as well as China’s foreign ministry, have not yet commented publicly on these developments.

This move follows India’s awarding of contracts to state-run firms last August for constructing plants with a total capacity of 11.5 gigawatts, part of broader efforts to enhance infrastructure in border areas. Concerns have arisen over potential Chinese projects along the Brahmaputra river (known as Yarlung Tsangbo in China) in Tibet, which could impact water flow into Arunachal Pradesh and beyond, prompting India’s proactive infrastructure push in the region.

India and China, both engaged in infrastructure development along their shared border, have sought to improve dialogue following deadly clashes in the western Himalayas in 2020. Recent talks between Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Kazakhstan underscore ongoing efforts to address border issues through diplomatic channels.

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