China allows India to export non-Basmati rice, renews pact to share Brahmaputra water flow data

China has renewed its agreement with India on sharing data on the cross-border flow of waters from the Brahmaputra river during the flood season. Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed on June 9, the Chinese side would provide hydrological data from May 15 to October 15 — the period when the Brahmaputra is prone to floods. The Chinese side would also provide hydrological data if the water level exceeds a “mutually agreed” level during the non-flood season.

The two sides also signed a protocol between the Chinese administration of Customs and Department of Agriculture on phytosanitry requirements that would enable all varieties of rice exports from India to China. India has been pressing China to allow agricultural exports, to help reduce its adverse balance of payments. The June 9 protocol updates an earlier agreement of 2006. Under the new agreement, India would also be allowed to export non-Basmati rice to China.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. The meeting between the leaders of two Asian powers came after their informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan to solidify the relationship in a broad spectrum of areas and ensuring better coordination between the border guarding forces of the two countries after the Doklam standoff.

The two leaders had also discussed ways to give impetus to their economic ties as well as people-to-people relations. Mr. Luo said it was the 14th meeting between our two leaders over past four years. Mr. Modi arrived in Qingdao in the afternoon on a two-day visit to attend the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit.

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