Nathu La pass reopens for Indo-China trade
Nathu La(Indo-China border), Jul 6: Nathu La, a part of the ancient silk route, was reopened today for resumption of border trade between India and China, the two great economic powers of Asia.
Resumption of border trade through the Himalayan pass symbolises further strengthening of bilateral relations and closer ties between the two countries.
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China government C Phuntsok declared the border opened after cutting the ceremonial ribbon at a function organised here to mark the historic event.
Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi, TAR Vice-Chairman Hao Peng and General Officer Commanding of 17 mountain division K T Parnaik were among a host of dignitaries present on the occasion.
Braving inclement weather on the icy heights around 700 invitees, including ministers from Sikkim, top central and state government officials, security personnel and media representatives of various national and international organisations assembled at Nathu La, located at 14,200 feet high altitude to witness the historic event.
After the reopening the Nathu La trade route, Mr Chamling inaugurated the Sherathang trade mart constructed at five km down the line from Nathu La in a separate function.
At least one hundred traders from India crossed the international border to see the wares displayed by the Chinese in their trade mart at Renqinaag about 30 km from here and an equal number of Chinese merchants came to see the Indian trade hub signalling the beginning of business between the neighbours.
With the reopening of the trade route, Nathu La became the third point for border trade with TAR after Shipkela in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh in Uttaranchal.
The first step to reopen trade at Nathu La was taken after the two countries signed an MoU during the visit of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to China in June 2003.
After several rounds of discussions spread over the last three years an Indian delegation led by the Union Commerce and Industries Secretary finalised July 6 for the reopening during a meeting with TAR authorities in Lhasa last month.