Tuesday, June 05, 2007

CHINESE DELEGATION IN SIKKIM


NATHULA, June 4: China perceives the resumption of trade over the Nathula Pass as an indicator of good relations between India and China.

Bu Jianguo, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India, said this here today.

“The resumption of trade through the Nathula Pass is symbolic of improved relations between India and China. Nathula trade should serve as a bridge to greater understanding and friendship between the two nations,” she said.

Jianguo is leading a four-member Chinese delegation which arrived in Gangtok yesterday to assess and review the Nathula trade.

Talking to media persons informally here today before the delegation crossed into the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Jianguo said that she was “satisfied” with the infrastructural development at the Sherathang Trade Mart on the Indian side. While commenting on the fact that the imports from China through Nathula for May this year stood at a dismal zero, Jianguo said that it was imperative that bi-lateral trade took place. “Unilateral trade will definitely not help any one. Through trading at Nathula, both Tibet and Sikkim should first benefit,” she said.

Jianguo also said that the prospects of tourism development between China and India through Nathula had “great prospects” and should be promoted adequately.

The Chinese delegation had earlier arrived at the Sherathang Trade Mart in the morning escorted by the Director, Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Sikkim, senior officials and members of the Indo-China Traders Association of Sikkim (ICTAS). The team inspected the infrastructure at the Mart and visited the stalls. Later, the delegation also interacted with the Chinese traders at the Mart.

At the Nathula Pass, the Chinese delegation was given a ceremonial welcome by the guards of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) before being escorted into the TAR by Chinese officials. The team will visit and inspect the infrastructure at the Donqingang Trade Mart in TAR. They are expected to return back to Gangtok tomorrow and are scheduled to meet the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling later in the day before leaving Sikkim on June 6.

Yesterday, the ICTAS members, led by its president, Chimmey Rinzing Bhutia hosted a dinner for the Chinese delegation and had informal interaction with the team. Jianguo was apprised of the some of the major problems faced by the traders from both the countries. The revision and upgradation of the list of items for trade came up prominently during the discussions, sources have revealed.