Indian team in China holds talks on trans-border rivers

The Siang or the Dihang as the Brahmaputra is called in Arunachal. This hanging bridge is between Jidu and Tuting, about 35 km from the border with China.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A team of officials of India’s Ministry of Water Resources held talks with their Chinese counterparts on the cooperation of trans-border rivers, the first after Beijing last year stopped providing the data on the flow of Brahmaputra waters.

The two-day talks on the 11th meeting of the India-China Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) on Trans-Border Rivers concluded on Tuesday in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said on Tuesday.

The Indian side was led by Teerath Singh Mehra, Commissioner (B&B), Ministry of Water Resources and the Chinese side by Yu Xingjun, Consul, Department of International Cooperation Science and Technology, Ministry of Water Resources.

The meeting reviewed the progress made since the earlier meetings of the ELM and their continued cooperation on provision of hydrological information and emergency management in respect of trans-border rivers, the press release said.

Review of report on hydrological data

The officials also reviewed the data utilisation report upon provision of hydrological information provided by China to India in flood season on Brahmaputra and Sutlej Rivers.

The institutional mechanism of the ELM was established in 2006 to discuss various issues related to trans-border rivers. Under existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides to India hydrological information of Brahmaputra River (Yarlong Zangbo) and Sutlej River (Langqen Zangbo) during the flood seasons.

Under the arrangement, China provides flood season data of the Brahmaputra river between May 15 and October 15 every year.

Last September, China said it couldn’t share the data with due to upgradation of data collection station in Tibet.

China’s announcement soon after the 73-day long standoff at Doklam over Chinese military’s plans to build a road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor connecting North-Eastern states.

China’s argument

China has been building major dams on Brahmaputra river to generate hydel power. It operationalised Zangmu hydroelectric project in October, 2015 and three more are under construction.

While dams raised concerns of water shortages in India and Bangladesh, which are lower riparian states of Brahmaputra river, China said its dams were aimed at generating power and not storing water.

According to officials, the data shared by upper riparian state, China, to lower riparian states, India and Bangladesh is essential every monsoon to allow anticipation of the flow of the water and take necessary measures to deal with flooding in India’s north-eastern States.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:02:58 PM |

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