New Delhi: India has not received hydrological data from China this year despite an agreement, the external affairs ministry said on Friday but maintained that it was "premature" to link it with the recent floods in some parts of the country.
The development comes in the backdrop of the ongoing standoff between Chinese and Indian troops in Doka La in Sikkim sector.
Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also did not confirm whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to China next month to attend Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit, saying he does not have any information about it.
Asked about the current status of the standoff, he said, "It is a sensitive issue... We will continue to engage with China to find mutually acceptable solution. Peace and tranquillity in border areas are important pre-requisites for smooth development of bilateral relations."
However, he quipped, "I am not an astrologer, so cannot predict", when asked by when the Doka La standoff will be resolved.
Asked if China has shared hydrological data with India in the backdrop of floods in Assam, Kumar said there is an existing expert-level mechanism, established in 2006, and there are two MoUs under which China is expected to share hydrological data on rivers Satluj and Brahmaputra with India during the flood season of 15 May to 15 June.
"For this year, we have not received hydrological data from the Chinese side," the spokesperson said.
However, he added that it was "premature" to link it with the floods in Assam.
He also noted that in view of floods in Bihar, India was closely coordinating with Nepal, both at Centre and state-level.
Asked about the reported comments of the Japanese ambassador on Doka La face off and if India welcomes it, Kumar gave a very guarded reaction, saying the remarks speak for themselves.
The Japanese ambassador was quoted in media as saying that no country should use unilateral forces to alter the status of Doka La.
"We recognise Doka La is a disputed area between Bhutan and China and two countries are engaged in border talks... We also understand that India has a treaty with Bhutan which is why Indian troops got involved in the area," the ambassador had reportedly said.
Kumar also refused to divulge details of communication by other countries to India on the Doka La issue.
Asked about a clash between Chinese troops and Indian border guards in Ladakh on 15 August, the MEA spokesperson said, "Such incidents are not in the interest of either side" but refused to give details about the incident.
He, however, emphasised that the incident should not be linked with what was happening in any sector, apparently referring to Doka La face off.
He said two border personnel meetings (BPMs) had taken place between Indian border guards and Chinese troops recently.
He said one BPM had taken place at Chushul on 16 August and another one at Nathu La a week before.
Asked about a video, posted by Chinese state-run media, which portrayed Indians in a very poor taste, he said he does not want to "dignify" it with a response.
Published Date: Aug 18, 2017 07:50 pm | Updated Date: Aug 18, 2017 07:50 pm