Beijing, Oct 23: With India repeatedly voicing concern over China’s dam building activities upstream on the Brahmaputra, India and China Wednesday agreed to exchange more hydrological information on common rivers and also discuss “other issues”, in a tacit acknowledgment of India’s worries.
The Memorandum of Understanding on trans-border rivers was inked after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People here.
According to the agreement, the two sides “recognised that trans-border rivers and related natural resources and the environment are assets of immense value to the socio-economic development of all riparian countries”.
“The two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers, cooperate through the existing Expert Level Mechanism on provision of flood-season hydrological data and emergency management, and exchange views on other issues of mutual interest,” the agreement states.
The agreement on trans-border rivers is considered a major one by India as earlier the Chinese side was unwilling to consider India’s concerns, said sources.
This time the agreement takes into account the environmental concerns of India on the Brahmaputra. China has built several dams upstream and India has voiced concern that this could damage the flora and fauna, including fish, downstream in India.
Ambassador S. Jaishankar told newspersons the point of agreement to “exchange views on other issues of mutual interest” is very crucial. He said China is to have an “open mind” on India’s concerns and hold consultations.