Late last year, as the world grappled with the COVID pandemic, the Chinese Government announced it would seek to exploit the hydropower potential of the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo — a transboundary river that flows from Tibet into India, where it becomes the Brahmaputra, and then into Bangladesh as the Jamuna. The announcement was made as part of the government’s 14th five-year plan, a series of guidelines spelling out China’s economic and social priorities.
Experts believe it could be the riskiest mega structure ever built. Not only is the location prone to massive landslides and some of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded, it’s also precariously close to the disputed border between India and China. Meaning any major project could further escalate discontent in a tense territorial dispute between the world’s two most populous countries.