Thursday, October 24, 2013

India, China ink key accord on river information

India, China ink key accord on river information
23 October, 2013
IANS (Indo-Asian News Service)

Beijing � India and China Wednesday agreed to exchange more hydrological
information on common rivers and also discuss other issues in a tacit
acknowledgment of India's concerns over China's dam building activities
on the Brahmaputra.

The Memorandum of Understanding on trans-border rivers was inked after
talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li
Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People here.

According to sources, the agreement is a major diplomatic achievement as
it is the first time that China has agreed to acknowledge India's rights
as a lower riparian state.

India's consistent raising of the issue of China's dam building
activities on the Brahmaputra river, known as Yarlang Tsangpo in China,
has helped in Beijing becoming more accommodating this time, they said.

This time the agreement takes into account the environmental concerns of
India on the Brahmaputra, including the damage to flora and fauna due to
China's dam building upstream. Beijing says its dams are run of the
river dams.

According to the agreement, the two sides recognized that trans-border
rivers and related natural resources and the environment are assets of
immense value to the socio-economic development of all riparian countries.

Both sides also agreed to flood-time exchange of hydrological data on 15
more days - from May 15 instead of June 1 to Oct 15th.

Advancing the date by 15 days, at a time when the melted glacier ice of
the Tibetan plateau begins to flow downstream, is also a major
achievement, the sources said.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation on trans-border
rivers, cooperate through the existing Expert Level Mechanism on
provision of flood-season hydrological data and emergency management,
and exchange views on other issues of mutual interest, the agreement states.

Earlier, China was unwilling to consider India's concerns. But this
time, it has been different, the sources said.

Ambassador S. Jaishankar told news persons the point of agreement to
exchange views on other issues of mutual interest is very crucial. He
said China is to have an open mind on India's concerns and hold

The new agreement, which comes into immediate effect, will help bring in
more flood data for India to help manage the heavy monsoon floods on the
Brahmaputra which displaces thousands in Assam along the river every
year. It would also give an insight into China's dam building activities
and vice versa.

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