China looks at an Indian to save itself from natural disasters

• China’s Earthquake Administration is considering India-born geophysicist Paramesh Banerjee for the top post at its Institute of Geophysics. Banerjee is the only non-Chinese among the four candidates.

• At present, he is technical director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technical University.

• Earthquakes are a major problem for China. The worst in the recent times was a decade ago that killed 70,000 people in Sichuan province.

• Banerjee will be the first Indian to head a Chinese scientific institution though many Indian scientists already work at institutions affiliated to the Chinese government.

• Banerjee, who was elected president of the Asian Seismological Commission in 2017, had outlined a practical approach towards safeguarding Asian society from earthquake-related hazards at the commission’s general assembly meeting held last year in Chengdu in China.

• An alumnus of the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, Banerjee worked at the University of California, Berkeley, in the US and at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun before joining Singapore’s NTU in 2009.

• Banerjee, who has a commercial pilot license, flew over Nepal after 2015 earthquake to construct a 3-D digital terrain map of the Himalayan faults.

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