China is in talks with India on the transfer of cloud-seeding technology.
In the first such engagement between the Asian giants, a team of scientists and officials from Beijing, Shanghai and East China’s Anhui province, were recently in Maharashtra to discuss weather conditions with the government of the western Indian state, parts of which have experienced severe droughts over the past two years.
The Chinese team’s days-long tour concluded on June 2.
If the discussions are successful, Chinese experts would provide training to officials of the Indian Meteorological Department on their latest cloud-seeding technology, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
One of the sources had earlier described it as an “exploratory visit by the Chinese side to discuss with relevant Indian authorities how to go about it”.
The training is expected to be given on procedures to seed clouds successfully, the source said.
The training is aimed at inducing rain over Maharashtra’s Marathwada region in the summer of 2017 if needed, the source said.
While summer rains have arrived this year in India, the region has been traditionally vulnerable to drought.
The sources spoke to China Daily on condition of anonymity.
An official in the China Meteorological Administration said that arrangements are still in progress.
The development follows a meeting between Han Zheng, Shanghai’s top official, and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in the Indian state’s capital of Mumbai in early May.
Han, who is also a Communist Party of China Politburo member, had asked Fadnavis if China could do anything for drought relief in Maharashtra, one of the sources said.
Monsoons and temperatures nearing 50 C have triggered many agrarian crises in India, with poor farmers being hit the hardest.
Indian media said in April that the Maharashtra government would begin cloud-seeding experiments in June and continue through August – the period of summer monsoons.
China started to use cloud-seeding technology in 1958, and today has one of the most advanced systems in the world.