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V Krishnakanth Vellanki: Is there any problem if India signs a water treaty with China on Brahmaputra River, similar to the water treaty with Nepal and other neighbouring countries?

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  • Uttam Kumar Sinha replies: A treaty can only be signed if the other party (in this case China) wants to have a one. China has not signed on the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of Watercourses Treaty. Beijing has shown reluctance to enter into any formal arrangement with its neighbouring countries on trans-boundary rivers. In the Mekong River Commission, it is an observer. With no formal arrangement, China has the latitude to use water as a trade-off or a bargaining tool. The water resource ministry of both the countries signed a MoU in 2002 on specific data and information sharing. However, India should continue to insist on water dialogue with China and raise the issue of rivers and flow concerns at various levels of interaction.