India and China could not clinch final agreement on two sensitive issues --- glaciology research and saving tigers --- in environmental talks that ended on Wednesday in Beijing. They did agree to hold consultations to study how forests absorb polluting emissions.
India is keen for an agreement with China to share scientific data and field access to the strategic and shrinking Himalayan glaciers that feed Asia’s rivers, and are indicators of global warming. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh had told HT that clinching this collaboration would be a ‘big breakthrough’.
The time and venue to sign the agreement on Wednesday was fixed. Media access to the signing was confirmed the previous night and cancelled the next day.
“They (the Chinese) wanted little more time,’’ said Ramesh. He said the collaboration would be finalised in October, when a Chinese delegation will visit Delhi. An official in New Delhi told HT that the agreements were possible but both sides need to fine-tune the spadework.
When India sought cooperation to check the illegal trade in poached tigers, the Chinese raised the issue of endangered Tibetan antelopes poached for their fur used in banned shahtoosh shawls.
“They feel the same about Tibetan antelopes as we feel about tigers,’’ said Ramesh.