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Will cooperate with India on flood water data, says China as Tsangpo in spate

The ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said it had it had alerted Indian authorities about the increase in water volume in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo river and advised them to prepare for impact downstream.

world Updated: Sep 01, 2018 07:24 IST
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Siang,Brahmputra,India
The Yarlung Tsangpo is called Siang once it enters Arunachal Pradesh and becomes Brahmaputra in Assam after combining with two other rivers downstream. (PTI File Photo)

China on Friday said it will continue to cooperate with India on sharing river water data as parts of two northeastern Indian states brace for the impact of heavy rains in southern China leading to an increase in the volume of water in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo river.

The Yarlung Tsangpo is called Siang once it enters Arunachal Pradesh and becomes Brahmaputra in Assam after combining with two other rivers downstream.

In a statement emailed to HT, the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said it had it had alerted Indian authorities about the increase in water volume in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo river and advised them to prepare for impact downstream.

The MFA didn’t comment on whether construction activities or landslides impacted the water flow.

“Chinese water conservancy department has informed India about the situation and reminded the latter to pay attention and prepare for it,” it said in the statement.

“China will maintain communication and cooperation with India with the best wishes and humanitarian spirit of developing Sino-Indian relations,” the statement added.

The ministry said the two countries had cooperated in the past on data related to frontier rivers.

“For a long time, China and India have carried out a series of good cooperation in the areas of hydrological reporting, flood prevention and mitigation, and emergency response handling under the cross-border river expert mechanism,” the statement said.

In 2017, China had stopped sharing hydrological with India data with the timing coinciding with the 73-day Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops near the Sikkim border.

Beijing had then said it was unable to share the Yarlung Tsangpo data as the data collection centres in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) were being upgraded.

The MFA had said “…to upgrade and renovate the relevant station in the Chinese side, we do not have the conditions now to collect the relevant statistics of the river.”

In March, the issue of sharing water data was resolved during a bilateral meeting.

The 11th meeting of the India-China expert-level mechanism on trans-border rivers was held in Hangzhou, China on March 26-27 following which Beijing announced it will resume sharing water data with India.

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in June, India and China signed an MoU that enabled Chinese side to provide hydrological data in flood season from May 15 to October 15 every year.

It also enabled the Chinese side to provide hydrological data if water level exceeds mutually agreed level during non-flood season

The two countries also have an expert level mechanism established in 2006 to discuss issues related to trans-border rivers.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 18:06 IST