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A military hotline between India and China to be operational soon

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(IANS)

Beijing: A military hotline between the armed forces headquarters of India and China is expected to become operational soon, according to defence ministry officials here. Yang Yujun, spokesman for the ministry of defence, told visiting Indian journalists on Tuesday, that direct telephonic links between the general headquarters of the two countries is expected to be set up in the near future.

Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun (IANS)
Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun (IANS)

He said that such a mechanism was necessary to “increase mutual trust, avoid misjudgements and prevent crisis” from developing. Yang, who has the Indian equivalent title of brigadier-general, said talks in this regard were in an advanced stage.

Later, other officials said that once the main hotline was established, more such direct links between senior military officers in the field would be set up. The spokesman also said that consultancy mechanism between China and India on the border issue and consultations at various levels was “functioning”. He was asked about a sentence in the white paper on China’s Military Strategy, released on May 26 this year, which stated, “certain disputes over land territory are still smouldering”.

The spokesman said that this was in the context of some disputes which were “leftover from colonialism” and referred to north-east Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, thus steering it away from China-India border question.

Later, Xu Quyu, deputy chief of the institute for strategy at the National Defense University explained that something was lost in translation. In Chinese, the exact words used were “still there” and not the word “smouldering.”

Officials also informally explained that the incursions seen on the India-China border often happened from both the sides and was the result of a lack of a clear demarcation. (IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)