While it fights the pressure of the Western countries over the issue of climate change, India now wants to rope in China in its efforts. Minister of State (independent charge) for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh today said the two countries would set up a joint mechanism to study the Himalayan glaciers.
Ramesh is set to visit China towards the end of this month to finalise this mechanism, along with related bilateral issues on environment protection.
“We will talk to the Chinese authorities on issues related to environment cooperation, especially in the forestry sector. While India is adding 1 million hectares of forests every year, China adds four million hectares. We also want to work together in the field of Himalayan glaciology,” Ramesh said today.
The minister also made it clear that the joint mechanism would not be made only to produce “bundles of research papers” but also to take concrete action plans. “There is no Indian research so far to decisively conclude that the Himalayan glaciers are melting because of the global warming. While the bulk of glaciers are receding, there are also some glaciers that are expanding. We need to study this matter,” the minister said.
While the Indian scientists will study the glaciers on the Indian part of the Himalayas, their Chinese counterparts will undertake a similar exercise. Following this, both sides will exchange their findings and try to chalk out a comprehensive solution.
Ramesh also said some findings suggested that the Gangotri glacier’s rate of melting has slowed in comparison to what it was during the 1960s and the ’70s. “On Monday, I saw a report saying the Siachen glacier is actually expanding. So, we need a comprehensive study about the impact of global warming,” Ramesh said.
The UPA government has also decided to set up a National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology in Dehradun for undertaking advanced study of the glaciers.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate a conference of environment and forest ministers of the states in New Delhi on August 18.
Apart from the issue of river cleaning, the Centre also wishes to be updated about the preparedness of the states in wildlife management. The issue of strengthening the state forest departments will also be discussed.