Why India has a shot at resolving the eternal debate on Mount Everest height

China has argued that the height of the peak is shorter than the official version. Now, a team of Indian scientists wants to remeasure the height of Mount Everest.

The eternal dispute over Mount Everest's height could possibly be resolved, if India is allowed to remeasure the world highest's mountain peak.

To this effect, India has sent a formal request to the Nepal government to let its team of scientists measure the height of Mount Everest.

The foreign affairs ministry of Nepal has confirmed that it has received the proposal from the Indian side more than a week ago.

"India's ministry of external affairs has sent us a proposal regarding the measuring of Mount Everest. We are looking into it," said Shankar Bairagi, foreign secretary of Nepal, who just returned from an India trip.

SURVEY OF INDIA GEARS UP

Around 30 scientists from the Survey of India and expert mountaineers are ready for the expedition. The entire project is expected to cost around Rs 5 crore.

Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao is spearheading the entire programme. "With the modern gadgets and highly experienced scientific team, this entire process would take not more than 4 to 6 weeks," said the Surveyor General of India.

The Survey of India team wants to carry out Mount Everest expedition in May. "Our scientists need some conditioning and some training on climbing, which we are providing. Now everything depends on the clearance from the Nepal government," said Swarna Subba Rao.

THE CHINA ARGUMENT

There has been a long-standing debate on the height of Mount Everest. China and Nepal have had a history of disagreement over Mount Everest's height. China has argued that the world's highest mountain peak is four-metre shorter than the official figure.

The official height of Mount Everest is 8,848 metre (or 29,029 feet). The last measuring of Mount Everest was also done by the Survey of India in 1956. Nepal has always wanted to settle the issue of Mount Everest's height.

According to Nepal's foreign secretary, besides India, the country has not received proposal from anyone else to remeasure Mount Everest.

The urgency for re-measuring Mount Everest has been prompted by new satellite images that hint at the peak shrinking after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Several scientists are, however, sceptical of such a theory.

The Surveyor General of India is hopeful of getting the nod from Nepal government to start the expedition. "Nepal is a friendly country and we are sure that soon we would get a go-ahead from Nepal to begin our historic journey," he said.