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Haven’t received hydrological data from China: India

A villager shifts grains from a flooded village in Araria district of Bihar. The Ministry of External Affairs has ruled out as premature a possible Chinese angle to the recent floods in the country.

A villager shifts grains from a flooded village in Araria district of Bihar. The Ministry of External Affairs has ruled out as premature a possible Chinese angle to the recent floods in the country.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Indicating at China’s responsibility in the current spate of floods in northeastern states, India on Friday said that Beijing has not shared any water-related data about the Himalayan rivers in the current year.

Ministry of External Affairs said that under an agreement, China had committed to share annual hydrological data to India but the same has not been shared with India.

“There is an existing mechanism named India-China Expert-Level mechanism which was started in 2006 to share hydrological data during the flood season for Brahmaputra and Satluj rivers. Under the MoUs singed in 2013 and ‘15 the hydrological data is to be shared between 15 May to 15 October every year but from 15 May till now, we have no data from China. The last meeting of the mechanism was held in April 2016,” said Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Spokesperson hinted at the necessity for regional cooperation to control floods and explained that the responsibility of sharing data is with China as it hosts the points of origin of the rivers Brahmaputra and Satluj.

“Sometimes, due to some technical reasons data is not shared. But what are the technical reasons we can tell after finding from the relevant ministry. The upper riparian country has to share the data as the flow of the rivers is from high to low,” he said.

The issue of Nepal’s role in controlling floods in Bihar also came up during the weekly briefing of the MEA wherein the Spokesperson said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed with Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara the need for closer coordination to reduce floods.

The same issue was taken up during thhe telephone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday.

“The Prime Minister conveyed condolences at the loss of life in Nepal due to recent widespread floods and expressed readiness to provide all possible relief assistance,” said a release from the MEA on Friday.

The Spokesperson also addressed the ongoing India-China standoff at Doklam and declined to give a timeline to the standoff adding, “I am not an astrologer and since I am not an astrologer so I will let it pass.” He however noted a racially motivated skit that appeared in the Chinese official media earlier in the week and said, “I will not dignify this with an answer.”

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 8:42:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/havent-received-hydrological-data-from-china-india/article19518970.ece

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