China’s satel­lites help ease flood woes in In­dia

Global Times US Edition - - BIZCOMMENT - By Hu Wei­jia

China and In­dia are mov­ing to share satel­lite data in­volv­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ter re­lief, at a time when the South Asian nation is un­der pres­sure to find longterm so­lu­tions to its fre­quent flood woes.

More than 150 peo­ple died and mil­lions more suf­fered af­ter flood­ing and land­slides rav­aged sev­eral parts of In­dia. Ev­ery year, In­dia’s June­septem­ber mon­soon de­liv­ers heavy rains, reg­u­larly re­sult­ing in deadly flood­ing. China is will­ing to lend a hand to In­dia to solve this long­stand­ing prob­lem, even though the road for pro­mot­ing cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy links with In­dia is al­ways bumpy due to com­plex geopo­lit­i­cal is­sues.

Satel­lite-re­lated co­op­er­a­tion is al­ways a sensitive bi­lat­eral topic, with con­cerns ex­pressed by some In­dian ob­servers over na­tional se­cu­rity.

How­ever, such wor­ries are un­nec­es­sary. On July 17, In­dia sought in­ter­na­tional sup­port in ac­cor­dance with the In­ter­na­tional Char­ter on Space and Ma­jor Disas­ters, a mul­ti­lat­eral mech­a­nism aimed at shar­ing clear space-based data for coun­tries af­fected by nat­u­ral or man-made disas­ters.

China, which signed onto the char­ter in 2007, re­sponded rapidly to In­dia’s re­quest by shar­ing images of flood-stricken re­gions in In­dia taken by Chi­nese satel­lites.

China has gained ground in the race to the fore­front of a spate of cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies, rang­ing from space to bio­science. For in­stance, 11 years af­ter a deadly earth­quake rav­aged Southwest China, the coun­try has mas­tered ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies in earth­quake mon­i­tor­ing and launched a sound earth­quake pre­dic­tion project in that part of the nation.

Now the two coun­tries have large po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion, in which China’s pos­ses­sion of cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies can be in­stru­men­tal for In­dia’s dis­as­ter re­lief.

China is will­ing to tap the po­ten­tial for cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

What is im­por­tant is how to per­suade or­di­nary In­dian peo­ple, the big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this co­op­er­a­tion, in a bid to win wide­spread sup­port in In­dian so­ci­ety.

China has so far sup­ported dis­as­ter re­lief ef­forts by us­ing its satel­lites for more than 30 coun­tries and re­gions, some of which are lo­cated along the routes of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI). The ini­tia­tive is de­signed to be a plat­form to bring tan­gi­ble benefits to or­di­nary peo­ple.

Even though New Delhi till to­day re­fuses to en­dorse the BRI, the shar­ing of satel­lite data will help In­dian peo­ple gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the mo­tive of the ini­tia­tive and leave the door open for more co­op­er­a­tion. The au­thor is a re­porter with the Global Times. bi­zopin­[email protected] glob­al­

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