Nathu La on the Sikkim/Tibet borders of India and China opened today again for trade.
The expected boom in trade has led to the construction of a hotel at the trade mart in Sheratang on the Tibetan side – with a grand total of eight rooms.
Last year saw around three thousand Sikkimese and Tibetan traders crossing the border to their respective trade marts , moving no longer than fifteen kilometers in to foreign territory – still a long way to go before thinking of this as a alternative route in to Tibet and China.
Sources : IAN , Hindustan Times
Formal trade over the Nathu La ended on November 27 , it was announced today. 2009 openening preliminary May 1st.
Source : IANS
“Bilateral trade between India and China opened on Monday through the fabled Silk Road amid a fresh border row, with Beijing claiming a strip of land in Sikkim.
“Border trade was earlier scheduled to open on May 1 but was postponed after Beijing requested New Delhi to delay the start following landslides in the Tibet Autonomous Region,” said Ujwal Gurung, Sikkim’s director of industry and commerce.
“Formal trade for the current year began on Monday and would continue until Nov 30,” Gurung said.
The reopening of bilateral trade comes at a time when Beijing has once again raked up a border row by claiming a narrow strip of land near village Gyangyong in northern Sikkim..”
IANS reports that Nathu La , the border pass between Sikkim and Tibet has re-opened earlier than planned , and will stay open longer :
‘Trading was earlier scheduled to begin June 1 and last until Sep 30. But the two countries agreed to demands by traders to allow business from May 1 to Nov 30,’ Sikkim Director of Industry and Commerce Saman Prasad Subba said Thursday.
India and China in July last year reopened trade across the 15,000 feet Nathu La Pass, 52 km east of Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, as part of a broader rapprochement. The move marked the first direct trade link between the neighbours since a bitter border war in 1962.
‘A total of 29 Chinese traders came to the Indian side with tradable items, while 13 people from India crossed over to China to do business in the first two days of trading,’ Subba told IANS.
Latest figures released by Tibet’s commerce department said bilateral trade in the first season through Nathu La saw business worth 1.49 million yuan ($190,000 million).
In the same period from July 6 to Sep 30 last year, Indian traders did business worth Rs.1.2 million ($26,109).
Although two-way trade was slow last year, about 900 Chinese traders crossed the border separated by a rusty barbed wire marker to the bazaar of Sherathang, five kilometre below the pass on the Indian side. About 400 Indian traders headed to the Renqinggang interim market in Tibet on the Chinese side, 16 km from the border.
The Sikkim government has also urged New Delhi to sing a pact with Beijing to allow tourists to use the border pass.
‘At present only traders are allowed to cross over and if tourism is opened it would be economically beneficial for both the countries,’ the official said.”
“ Nathu la in Sikkim opened today for trade between India and China for the first time since the traditional trade route was closed in 1962, but experts are cautiously optimistic about the development.
This is the third border trade point between the two countries, the other two being Lipulekh pass in Uttaranchal and Shipki la in Himachal Pradesh.
The border trade through Nathu la resumed today at the Changgu border trade mart at Sherathang on the Indian side and, Renqinggang trade mart on the Tibetan side.
The Ministry of External Affairs said the border trade mart would remain open from June 1 to September 30 every year.”