NATIONAL

In India, Li will ink pacts on river and culture

Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao at a meeting in Kolkata on Thursday.— PHOTO: PTI

Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao at a meeting in Kolkata on Thursday.— PHOTO: PTI  

Li Yuanchao, the Vice-President of China will conclude his India visit by sealing agreements marking cooperation on better river water management and cultural exchanges.

Official sources told The Hindu , Mr. Li who visited Aurangabad and Kolkata before landing in Delhi, will preside over the renewal of the 2013 memorandum of understanding on joint water management which helps India and China share data on multiple Himalayan rivers for better water management.

The second agreement to be signed during Mr. Li’s visit will be on the cultural exhibition on the Gupta period in the Indian history to be held in 2016 in China. Mr. Li visited Ajanta cave complex which holds some of the finest cultural and architectural achievements from the Gupta period. Experts say that Mr. Li’s visit highlights the fact that the Chinese government looks at the Gupta empire with particular interest as it was during this period that the Nalanda university prospered which later on hosted Xuanzang during his visit to India (629-645 AD).

However, the focus of Mr. Li’s visit is expected to be on the renewal of the MoU on smooth sharing of hydrological data related to the common Himalayan rivers.

While a prominent part of the 2013 agreement focused on joint study of Sutlej which originates in the western Tibet region, the other and more important aspect of that agreement was on the hydrological study of the Brahmaputra. It is expected the renewed agreement will also focus on the exchange of hydrological data on Brahmaputra river, though sources in the Ministry of External Affairs are not willing to comment. Sharing of hydrological data during the flood season helps in emergency management and better planning in lower riparian rivers.

B.R. Deepak of JNU, an expert on contemporary China says the agreement is on expected lines and is carefully planned to project a confident Chinese attitude toward India which has been fearful of China’s plans in South Asia.

“Water scarcity is a big issue in China whereas the north-eastern States of India have abundant river water. So hydrological exchanges between India and China are mainly aimed at emergency planning to help India,” Prof. Deepak said.





Chinese Vice-President will preside over the renewal of the 2013 memorandum of understanding on joint water management



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