"Most glaciers are melting, they are retreating; some glaciers, like the Siachen glacier, are advancing. But overall one can say incontrovertibly that the debris on our glaciers is very high, the snow balance is very low. We have to be very cautious because
of the water security, particularly in north India, which depends on the health of the Himalayan glaciers," says Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment, India.
The new National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology is based in Dehradun, in Uttarakhand, and will monitor glacial changes and compare results with those from glaciers in Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan.
India has launched the Indian Network on Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA)," the Minister said. It will bring together 125 research institutions throughout India, work with international bodies and operate as a "sort of Indian IPCC," he added.
The body will publish its own climate assessment in November, 2011, with reports on the Himalayas, India's long coastline, the Western Ghat highlands, and the north-eastern region close to the borders with Bangladesh, Burma, China and Nepal.