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Trade between India and China begins in Sikkim's Nathu La

Written by: Staff
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Nathu La, India-China border, July 6 (UNI) Braving rains and freezing cold, hundreds of Indian and Chinese delegates exchanged greetings atop 14,200-foot-icy field to mark reopening of the ancient silk route for fresh trading between the two Asian giants.

At 0900 hrs IST, before trading was declared open, the Indian tri-colour and Chinese national flag were hoisted on both sides of the border.

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Chinese representative and Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) Chairman Champa Phunstok jointly declared open the trading when the visibily was almost nil across the border.

Mr Chamling said this was an historic event that fostered fresh bond between the two neighbouring countries.

Mr Chamling quoting India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said ''The people of China knit to us by a thousand bond since the dawn of history. We stretch our hand in comradship, their perils are ours, their suffeering hurt us and we shall hold together whatever good and ill fortune may be fall on us''.

About 100 Indian traders were taken to Chinese side and as many Chinse traders marched to the Indian side to begin fresh business among them.

Mr Chamling said the reopening was a harbinger of flurishing trade, people's understanding, wider cooperation and durbale friendship between the two nations.

He welcomed the Chinese people and said this route symbolised the change to modern means of trasnport, communication with strong sense of mutual understanding, interdependence and collective survival from old caravan and postal runner.

On tourism, Mr Chamling said the region was a major hub for buddihst pilgrimage and it would become a central attraction for travellers of Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and other region.

''We have the vision to make this route a cultural highway bringing the civilization closer''.

He said that plan was also there to launch a bus service from Sikkim to Lasha in an approprite time.

After ribbon cutting to mark reopening the trade, hundreds of Chinese delegates trekked to Indian side and took photographs gleefully.

While Chinse people will have to come down to Sherathan, 5 kms down to Nathu La wall for trading, Indian businessmen will have to drive down till Renqinaag, about 30 kms, inside Tibet, for marketing.

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Yuxi was also present among that country's delegation and said it was a great opportunity for the two countries to expand bilateral trade. He said more busiesses are expected in future when infrastructre came up in the region.

He said now trade facilities were limited but things will improved up in future.

Additional Secretary Commerce and Industries Christe Fernandex, was among the present, besides all the minsiters of Sikkim, bureacrats and senior army and civil officers were present.

UNI BD PC CS KN1412

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