'china's pro-active approach on sharing flood data with india helped avert crisis'

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China’s pro-active approach on sharing hydrological data with India averted a crisis in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam on Friday-Saturday as the timely flood alerts helped central and local authorities in both the states take precautionary measures and evacuate people to safer places.

The country had last year stopped sharing the data after stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam, making it difficult for the Central Water Commission (CWC) to predict floods in the north-eastern states.

Sharing of data was resumed this year after both the countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China in June. The MoU is meant for sharing hydrological data from May 15 to October 15 every year.

“China, however, shared those data with us even beyond the cut-off date of October 15 when it encountered an emergency situation (landslide-induced blocking of the main stream of Yarlung Zangpo/Brahmaputra river) to its side,” said the CWC Chairman, S Masood Husain.

He told TOI on Sunday, “Chinese authorities, in fact, went out of the way and kept on sharing data with us at the CWC’s Dibrugarh division on hourly basis. It helped us take all precautionary measures and put Indian Air Force and NDRF on alert.

“Fortunately, the breach (to the lake created due to landslide) took 14 hours to happen, resulting in gradual discharge of water. Had it been quicker, the high discharge of water would have been disastrous. Nevertheless, we were better prepared to face it due to China’s pro-active approach on sharing hydrological data. It shows cooperation from their side.”

China had also constantly kept Indian ambassador in Beijing into the loop. The ambassador had, in turn, been in touch with cabinet secretary and chief secretaries of both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Asked about the situation on Sunday, the CWC chairman said the situation was absolutely normal and there was no need to panic.

The MoU between the two countries for sharing hydrological information by China on Yarlung Zangpo\Brahmaputra river with India was first signed in 2002. This is being renewed from time to time. Besides, India and China have also an operational MoU on sharing data on river Sutlej on the western side.

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