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'India should be concerned about melting Tibetan glaciers'

April 02, 2011

Ice melts in the source region of China's Yellow River outside of Maduo on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, known as the "Roof of the World", on April 19, 2010, in northwestern Qinghai province. Global warming and environmental degradation on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau are cutting into water resources for Asia's mightiest rivers including the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong, experts say, as melting glaciers and permafrost along the mountain ranges are leading to erosion of the plateau's grasslands and wetlands. - AFP Photo

NEW DELHI: The Dalai Lama said on Saturday that India should be seriously concerned about the melting of glaciers in the Tibetan plateau as millions of Indians use water that comes from there.

The Tibetan spiritual leader quoted Chinese experts as saying that the Tibetan glaciers were retreating faster than any elsewhere in the world. He was speaking at the centenary celebrations of India's former President R. Venkataraman in New Delhi.

He called for special attention to ecology in Tibet. "It's something very, very essential!'' he said.

"The glaciers are considered vital lifelines for Asian rivers, including the Indus and the Ganges. Once they vanish, water supplies in those regions will be threatened. As these major rivers come from the Tibetan plateau and ''since millions of Indians use water coming from the Himalayan glacier, so you have certain right to show your concern about ecology of that plateau,'' the Dalai Lama told an audience of about 400 Indians.

''India, a free country, I think should express more serious concern. This has nothing to do with politics, just everybody's interest, including that of the Chinese people,'' he said.

Rising demand has put a strain on access to freshwater in India and China, which are home to more than a third of the world's population.