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Originally published Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 3:37 AM

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Tibetan glaciers melting, says Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama said 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 Associated Press

NEW DELHI —

The Dalai Lama said 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 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.

He was speaking at the centenary celebrations of India's former President R. Venkataraman in New Delhi.

"India, a free country, I think should express more serious concern, that's I think important. This is nothing to do with politics, just everybody's interest, including Chinese people also," 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.

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