Friday, March 29, 2013

PM seeks joint mechanism with China on Chinese dams on Brahmaputra


Notwithstanding pledges to take the bilateral relationship to a new level, PM Manmohan Singh in his first meeting with new Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought a joint mechanism to assess the construction work on dams on Brahmaputra river in Tibet.

"I took the opportunity to raise the issue of trans-border river systems. I requested the Chinese government to provide a joint mechanism to enable us to assess the type of construction activity that is going on in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR)," he told reporters accompanying him on his return today from a four-day visit to Durban in South Africa.
He was asked about the discussion on the water issue he had with Xi in Durban last night on the margins of the BRICS summit in the first-high level face-to-face contact between the two countries after the change of power in China.
President Xi assured him that China was quite conscious of their responsibilities and the interest of the lower riparian countries, the Prime Minister said.
As regards the specific mechanism that he had asked, the Chinese President told him that they would further look into it.
The Prime Minister taking up the construction work in the Tibetan region assumes signficance in the context of the Chinese proposal to build three dams on Brahmaputra which has raised concerns in India.
Officials have earlier talked about a joint mechanism but this may probably the first time the Prime Minister has spoken about it and that too at the highest level.
"But as of now, our assessment is that whatever activity that is taking place on the Brahmaputra region in Tibet, it is essentially a run-of-the-river projects and therefore there is no cause of worry on our part," Singh said.
On his meeting with Xi, the Prime Minister said it was the first meeting between them and both agreed that they would continue to maintain the strong tradition of frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries to strengthen the ties.
We also agreed that high-level visits will be exchanged this year between India and China. I look forward to the opportunity of an early meeting with the Premier of China as well," he said.
Asked about his assessment of the new Chinese leadership, Singh said even before the formal meeting yesterday he had had "productive exchange" of views with Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.
He said both of them agreed to continue the exchanges that the type of intimate exchanges that used to take place when President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao were holding their positions. "Both of us agreed that we should aim to maintain similar relationship under the new leadership of China."
He said the two leaders last night reviewed the entire gamut of the bilateral relations and discussed the opportunities for exchange of views in cooperation and coordination in regional and international fore.
Asked about five proposals made by President Xi last week to strengthen bilateral ties with India, Singh said this was his first meeting and both of them were keen to get acquainted.
"While we reviewed a whole gamut of relationship, we didn't get to specifics. I got a distinct impression that the new Chinese leadership is serious as the former leadership to promote good neibhourly relations and to find practical and pragmatic solutions to outstanding issues between our two countries," he said.

 
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Naresh:
Syria is in a state of crisis. More than 70,000 people have been killed—over 3,700 are children—since the conflict started two years ago.
President Barack Obama made stopping mass atrocities a priority and a "core national security interest.” Yet U.S. efforts to slow or stop the crisis in Syria—diplomacy and sanctions against the regime, primarily—have had little effect. We need a new approach: the United States must cut off the supply chains that provide Assad the resources his regime needs to commit atrocities. This includes weapons, troops, and access to money provided by Iran and Russia, among many other actors.
Urge President Barack Obama to stop the supply chain to Syrian atrocities!
We have been tracking Assad’s supply chains since the conflict spiraled and found that the United States is well positioned to disrupt it. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq recently and  told Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that Iraq must stop Iran from shipping arms to Syria through Iraqi airspace. This is a good step. But stopping Assad’s enablers of mass atrocities requires a multi-prong approach. The United States can do much more.
Syrian casualties are mounting. Failure to act now to cut off these supplies will lead to even more bloodshed and will send the wrong message to those fueling Assad’s atrocities.
Urge President Barack Obama to stop the supply chain to Syrian atrocities!
Sincerely,
Sadia Hammed
Human Rights First

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