India and China to reopen Silk Route
NATHU LA: Chinese silk, yak tails and raw wool are among things to hit Indian markets with the reopening of the age-old Silk Route for border trading from October.
Perched at an altitude of about 4,500 metres and about 52 kilometres east of Gangtok, the sensitive border pass of Nathu La is all set to bustle with activity. “There is tremendous enthusiasm with border trading expected to begin from October 2 with the reopening of the traditional Silk Route,” BB Gooroong, a Sikkim government spokesperson, said.
Nathu La, overlooking Tibet’s Chumbhi Valley, was a major border trading point between the two countries until the bitter boundary spat between India and China in 1962, reports Indo-Asian News Service. The two countries in 2003 agreed to reopen border trading at Nathu La. “Infrastructure development and construction of roads leading to Nathu La is going on at a brisk pace and everything should be complete before the deadline,” Gooroong said.
The items of export include vegetables, blankets, tea, coffee, textiles, watches, shoes, canned food, tobacco, rice and dry fruits. The import items are goat skin, sheep skin, sheep wool, raw silk, yak tail, china clay, goat wool or pashmina,” a Sikkim industry official said.
The prospects of border trade have generated lot of interest among the locals in the tiny state with the small village of Sherathang, about 5 km from the Nathu La Pass, likely to be the business hub. nni