China will not share hydrological data with India until it withdraws its troops from Doklam, an expert at a Chinese think-tank has said. Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said China cannot be expected to fulfil its obligation when India has no regards for its neighbour’s sovereignty. China will not agree to carry out normal cooperation on hydrological data with India unless it agrees to withdraw troops from Doklam, the Global Times quoted him as saying.
The two sides have been engaged in a three-month military stand-off at Doklam in the Sikkim section of the India-China border. “Although China is a responsible country, we can’t fulfil our obligations to India when it shows no respect to our sovereignty,” Hu said. India on Friday said China had not shared the water related data so far this year.
The Brahmaputra River originates from China’s Tibet and flows flow into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. “There is an existing mechanism named India-China Expert-Level mechanism which was started in 2006 to share hydrological data during the flood season for Brahmaputra and Satluj rivers.” India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said.
“Under the MoUs signed in 2013 and 2015, the hydrological data is to be shared between May 15 to October 15 every year, but from May 15 till now, we have no data from China. The last meeting of the mechanism was held in April 2016,” he said, but held that linking the sharing of hydrological data with heavy floods in the northeast would be premature.
The upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo (the upper stream of the Brahmaputra) are in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, so China agreed to share hydrological data with India to help it prevent hydrological disasters such as flooding and drought, and carry out cooperation on the development and utilization of hydrological resources, Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times.
Zhao said India has always voiced concerns over China’s development of the river, and tried to hype these projects “in order to incite their people’s anti-China sentiment”.