Beijing: The much awaited India-China
agreement on cooperation on Himalayan glaciers has been
delayed due to "bureaucratic reasons", Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh said here on Sunday.
Asked what happened to the agreement which was to
have been signed some time back, Ramesh said at informal get
together at the Foreign Correspondents Club here that it was
due to be signed last September but stalled due to
"I am not in a position to say why it could not be
signed despite talks between technical delegations. I am
hopeful it will be signed soon," Ramesh who winded up his
three-day visit here today, said.
However, India and China are working on a ecological
conservation project in Mount Kailash along with Nepal.
This is the first time China and India are working
together involving Tibet which is important for Hindus and
Buddhists, he said.
Issues relating to glaciers and Brahmaputra dominated
the meeting held at the Indian Cultural Centre here in which
several Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents took part.
Asked about Chinese studies on Himalayan glaciers
which pointed an alarming picture of receding contrary to that
one by Indian scientists, Ramesh said studies show on the
India side is that most Himalayan glaciers are retreating but
presented a mixed picture.
The "incontrovertible conclusion" is that many of
the overwhelming majority glaciers in the Indian geographical
boundaries were receding.
However, some glaciers like Siachen were advancing
while other glaciers such as Gangothri are retreating but at a
"The rate of retreat of Gangothri was cut down over
last three decades," he said, adding that picture is more
nuanced compared to other studies.
"I am aware that Chinese have done a lot of studies.
Their view is that Himalayan glaciers in general are in
retreat in Tibet. All conclusions on Himalayan glaciers are
derived from the behaviour of the optic."
But very little work was done on measurement and
monitoring of the Himalyan glaciers which are fundamentally
different from optic glaciers because snout of the glaciers is
3,000 meters above sea level unlike the optics.