India, China to cooperate over Himalayan glaciers: Jairam

Last Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 - 09:21

London: India and China are in talks to
monitor the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas, a border
region crucial to both countries` water supplies, Minister for
Environment Jairam Ramesh has said.

"We are talking to the Chinese about monitoring the
Himalayan glaciers," Ramesh told the a newspaper.

However, he said India would not allow Chinese
scientists "to climb all over India`s glaciers" but wanted a
collaborative research programme.

He said as part of a scientific investigation into the
health of what are called the `Water Towers of Asia`, academic
research bodies on both sides of the mountain range would
share information.
He said New Delhi is open to dialogue on water resources
with Beijing, adding the two countries shared the concerns.
Ramesh is visiting China this month to strike a deal
with Beijing ahead of the Copenhagen talks on climate change
in December.
He said India and China could be a "countervailing
power" in resisting legally binding caps on greenhouse
emissions that threaten to slow the progress of the two
fastest growing economies.
The Himalayan region and the Tibet plateau are
strategically sensitive for the two countries.
Seven of the world`s greatest rivers, including the
Ganges and the Yangtze, are fed by glaciers, and supply water
to about 40 percent of the world`s population.

A newspaper report said the Indian government
has disputed the "doomsday predictions" linking melting of
Himalayan glaciers to climate change, saying there is no
evidence to support that glaciers will disappear within 40
years.

"It`s a highly emotive issue but one has to be a little
careful before we write the epitaph of the Himalayan
glaciers," Ramesh said.

Indian government has requested that the Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO) and the department of science and
technology undertake extensive glacial surveys across the
eastern and western Himalayas to assess their condition.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, August 3, 2009 - 09:21

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