China has for the first time formally agreed to allow Indian hydrological experts to conduct study tours in Tibet to monitor the flows on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, according to a new agreement signed here on Monday during the visit of Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

In a move to assuage India’s concerns about the ongoing dam projects on the upper reaches of the river — known as the Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet — Beijing has formally agreed to allow India to “despatch hydrological experts” to conduct study tours “according to the principle of reciprocity”.

China has in the past been sensitive about allowing access to Tibet, and Indian hydrological experts have, as yet, not been allowed to formally visit the region to monitor the river’s flows.