European Union and India Friday signed an agreement in the field of water management which includes European assistance in helping clean Hinduism's holiest river, the Ganges.
Over the past decades, billions of rupees have been spent in cleaning up the Ganges (also known as the Ganga), that has been described as a giant sewer by environmentalists.
They say the river is being slowly killed by pollutants and industrial waste along its 2,500-kilometre course from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.
The agreement was signed by Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati and EU commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in New Delhi.
Under the agreement, India and the EU aim to strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities in water management and exchange views on regulatory approaches as well as on EU water laws and conventions.
The pact makes a special mention of the EU's partnering in the Ganga Rejuvenation Initiative of the Indian government, through business solutions based on EU best practices, joint research activities and identifying key problems and solutions, including innovative European solutions.
The project to clean up the iconic river was among Premier Narendra Modi's campaign promises which brought his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party to power in 2014.