(TibetanReview.net, Mar30, 2018) – China is to resume sharing with India the hydrological data from Tibet ‘s Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra in downstream India) as top water resource officials of the two countries wrapped up two days of talks in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, according to India’s PTI news agency Mar 28. Beijing had stopped providing the data crucial to predict floods in downstream India last year, citing flimsy or patently untrue reasons, including that the data collection station in Tibet was being ungraded.
Of course, any plan to upgrade the data collection station could easily have been sounded to India in advance so that no occasion to complain about non-receipt of data would have arisen.
“On the basis of humanitarian spirit and our shared will to develop bilateral ties we will continue with the cooperation on hydrological information cooperation,” the report quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying at a media briefing in Beijing on Mar 28.
The report noted that China’s announcement to not share the data came soon after the 73-day stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Dokalam over Chinese military’s plans to build a road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor connecting the North-Eastern states.
It was stated to be the 11th meeting of the India-China Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) on Trans-Border Rivers. 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 institutional mechanism of the ELM was stated to have been established in 2006 to discuss various issues related to trans-border rivers.
The report noted that under the existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides to India hydrological information of the Brahmaputra River (Yarlung Tsangpo) and Sutlej River (Langchen Khabab) during the flood seasons. In the case of the Brahmaputra river the data is provided during the flood season of May 15 to Oct 15 every year.