Gangtok, Apr 19: The proposed reopening of the Nathu La trade route would bring the two countries closer, USA Consul General Henry V Jardine has said.
Talking to newsmen here last night, Mr Jardine said the present century belonged to Asia and India and China are going to play a major role in the region.
The reopening of the trade route would help the contries to play a major role. USA as a major trade partner of India, he said, wanted both the countries to have better and closer relations.
Mr Jardine said the reopening of the trade route would open a whole range of trade prospects in the region particiularly in Sikkim. But he expressed surprise over the delay in the reopening of the trade route.
Mr Jardine, who is on a five day visit to the state for the first time after he assumed charge of office at Kolkotta last year met the state Governor V Rama Rao, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and other dignitaries during his stay in the state.
Mr Jardine said Sikkim is a peaceful state and had lot of potential for development in the field of eco tourism, hydro power and agribased industries. But it failed to woo investors due to lack of infrastrcture and connectivity. He hoped that the completion of the proposed Airport at Paykong would add to the development of infrastructure and boost tourism to a great extent.
The Consul general said the state had high potential for development in the field of tourism but said the authorities should initiate steps to modernise and systemitised it to make it economically viable.
Mr Jardine said he was committed to launch programmes in the states under the jurisdictionn of his office to alleviate poverty, preserve culture, protect environment and wild life and to check malnutrition but the proposals should come from the state government specifying the areas in which they need assistance.
He said the USA government had given an assistance of 34000 dollars for preservation of artefacts and documents in the sixteeth century Institute of Tibetology and expressed his happiness over the way the fund was spent.