'Bureaucratic reasons' delaying glaciology agreement: Ramesh

'Bureaucratic reasons' delaying glaciology agreement: Ramesh

Asked what happened to the agreement which was to have been signed some time back, Ramesh said at informal get together at the Foreign Correspondents Club here that it was due to be signed last September but stalled due to "bureaucratic reasons".

"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," Ramesh who winded up his three-day visit here today, said.

However, India and China are working on a ecological conservation project in Mount Kailash along with Nepal.

This is the first time China and India are working together involving Tibet which is important for Hindus and Buddhists, he said.

Issues relating to glaciers and Brahmaputra dominated the meeting held at the Indian Cultural Centre here in which several Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents took part.

Asked about Chinese studies on Himalayan glaciers which pointed an alarming picture of receding contrary to that one by Indian scientists, Ramesh said studies show on the India side is that most Himalayan glaciers are retreating but presented a mixed picture.

The "incontrovertible conclusion" is that many of the overwhelming majority glaciers in the Indian geographical boundaries were receding.

However some glaciers like Siachen were advancing while other glaciers such as Gangothri are retreating but at a decelerating rate.

"The rate of retreat of Gangothri was cut down over last three decades," he said, adding that picture is more nuanced compared to other studies.
"I am aware that Chinese have done a lot of studies. Their view is that Himalayan glaciers in general are in retreat in Tibet. All conclusions on Himalayan glaciers are derived from the behaviour of the optic."

But very little work was done on measurement and monitoring of the Himalyan glaciers which are fundamentally different from optic glaciers because snout of the glaciers is 3,000 meters above sea level unlike the optics.