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Trade between India-China begins in Nathu La

Written by: Staff

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

Before trading was declared opened exactly at 0900 hrs IST, the Indian tri-colour and Chinese national flag were hoisted on either side of the border.

This ancient route was closed soon after Indo-China conflict in 1962.

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Chinese representative and Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) chairman Champa Phunstok jointly declared opened 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 from first Prime Minister Jawahar Nehru as saying "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 Indian side to beging fresh business among them.

Mr Chamling said this was new era and bigger things to come for people of both sides of the country. He said the reopening was a harbinger of flurishing trade, people's understanding, wider cooperation and durbale friendship between the two nations.

He wolcomed the Chinse 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.

"We would like to conduct 25th century trade so Nathu La in broader frame of sustained delvelopment", he added.

Initially 29 commodities are to be exported and 15 commoditites to be imported. Traders from Sikkim only can avail this trading opportunity now.

On tourism, Mr Chamling said the region was a major hub for buddihst pilgrimage as this 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 photograph gleefully. Similarly Indian delegates clicked cameras to take picture beyond the walls of Nathu La.

While Chinse people will have to come down to Sherathan, 5 kms down to Nathu La wall for trading, Indian businessmen will have to take vehicle to drive 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 event for 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 go up in future.

Among those senior Indian delegates, Additional Secretary Commerce and Industries Christe Fernandex, were among present.

Besides all the minsiters of Sikkim, bureacrats and senior army and civil officers were present.


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