Anyway, it is a small step forward.
China agrees to share data on Brahmaputra
1 May 2010,
Economic Times Bureau
NEW DELHI: In a significant development on the Sino-India water front, India and China have agreed to share hydrological data for the river Brahmaputra starting this monsoon season. The implementation plan was signed after the fourth meeting of the India-China expert mechanism on trans-border rivers, which took place from April 26 to 29 here.
The signing of the agreement comes close on the heels of China assuring India that the dam it is building on the Tsang Po river in Tibet would not affect the water flow of the Brahmaputra. The decision to share hydrological along with Beijing’s assurances on the dam project are being seen as significant by India considering China has never shared such information with other countries.
Even though the agreement to share hydrological data on the river was signed way back in 2008, China till now had refused to share any information. But now the information is expected to start flowing to India from June onwards. The data will be critical for India’s flood management efforts, especially for states like Assam.
Under the data sharing agreement, China will give flood-related data on the Tsang Po river during June 1- October 15 every year till 2012. The Chinese side is expected to provide hydrological data from three stations to India as part the flood management effort. Till now India and China were sharing flood data only for the river Sutlej.
Beijing’s shift in strategy on issues related to the Brahmaputra is being seen as a confidence and trust building measure. China is not known to share its plans on river projects with neighbouring countries.
India had been consistently taking up the matter of the construction of the dam at the prime ministerial level. And the persistence paid off when external affairs minister S M Krishna received an assurance from his Chinese counterpart recently that the dam for generating power would not affect downstream areas and that the project did not include water storage. The dam project is being executed by Gezhouba Corporation, an engineering and construction company. “When we met in Beijing, the question of the power station did come up. The Chinese foreign minister assured me that there would be no water storage at the dam and it would not in any way impact on downstream areas,” external affairs minister SM Krishna said in Parliament on the dam project.