China Refuses To Share Brahmaputra Data But Says Open To Talks On Reopening Nathu La Pass

China Refuses To Share Brahmaputra Data But Says Open To Talks On Reopening Nathu La PassThe Zangmu Dam on the Brahmaputra-Tsanpo river (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

China today (12 September) said it cannot share with India the hydrological data for the Brahmaputra river as the data collection station in Tibet was being upgraded.

However, it expressed readiness for talks to reopen the Nathu La pass in Sikkim for the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra.

China is expected to share hydrological data on the Sutlej and Brahmaputra rivers with India during the flood season, 15 May to 15 June, under a bilateral, expert-level mechanism that was established in 2006.

For long time we have conducted cooperation on the river data with the Indian side. But to upgrade and renovate the relevant station in the Chinese side, we do not have the conditions now to collect the relevant statistics of the river.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

When asked about the data, sharing of which was reportedly suspended due to the Doklam standoff, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "We will later consider that.” He also said the Indian side was apprised of the situation.

The sharing of data by China to lower riparian states, India and Bangladesh, is essential during the monsoon to anticipate water flow and take the necessary steps to deal with flooding in India's northeastern states.

China's stand citing technical glitches could pose major problems for India, especially in flood management.

Earlier in August, the Assam government had asked the centre to get the hydrological data for the Brahmaputra from China, saying the magnitude of the floods did not correlate with the amount of rainfall in the region.

China has, however, reportedly sounded positive on the reopening of the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage route through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim, which was also suspended over the recent standoff at Doklam.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said the opening of the Nathu La pass was suspended due to Indian troops "illegally crossing the border leading to the tensions".

Last month, India and China ended a 73-day standoff in the Doklam region of the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, caused by China’s plans to build a road.