India may need Chinese expertise for projects in Arunachal


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
BEIJING: Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for environment and forest, on Sunday tossed up a curious question about whether India will draw on Chinese expertise to implement its hydrological projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

India has drawn up an ambitious program of hydrological projects in Arunachal Pradesh, but it does not have the kind of experience that China has gained in constructing the massive Three Gorges dam, Ramesh said at a gathering of foreign journalists in Beijing on Sunday.

"But our ability to handle vast hydel projects is much less compared to China," he said. The minister did not clarify if India will actually allow Chinese construction companies to operate in Arunachal, which China claims as its own territory.

He explained that both Brahmaputra and Sutlez rivers flowed from Tibet, which is why it was necessary for India to have a continuing relationship with China.

A lot of "scary scenarios" have been painted with some people saying that China will divert the waters of the Brahmaputra to other regions of the country and seriously harm the flows into India, he said. But China has now clarified that it was only building a 540 mw hydroelectricity project on the Brahmaputra.

"A 540 MW run-of-the-river project should not be a matter of as much concern as a storage dam," he said.

The minister was asked if India would protest if China actually built a massive storage dam on the river. "Politically and even ecologically it would be unacceptable for India," he said. A water diversion project would cause alarm in Bangladesh, which is a lower riparian state, he said.

The minister cited "bureaucratic reasons" for the reason in signing an agreement for joint research in glaciology by India and China. "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," he said.

Ramesh said most of the glaciers on the Indian side of the Himalayas were retreating though there is evidence that a few of them like the Sichuan glacier on the Pakistan border is actually growing. The rate of reduction on the Gangotri glacier, which is the source of the Ganges, has come down.

Studies also show that the health of most of the 10,000 odd glaciers on the Indian side of Himalayas was poor. But most studies were based on extrapolation of data obtained from the Artic and there was very little work done on the ground in the Himalayas, he said.

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads