Kashmir Gov't Wants Re-opening Of Border With China
19 January 2007
Srinagar: The government in Kashmir said Friday New Delhi has been taking up the issue of re-opening of the Ladakh-Tibet border for trade and tourism with China since 1997 but so far has achieved no progress. The disclosure was made by Minister for Tourism Dilawar Mir while replying to a question on the matter in the Legislative Council (upper house) of the Jammu and kashmir National Assembly Friday. The minister told members of the council that the state government had been sending a series of communications to the government of India since 1997 and successive prime ministers had discussed the issue with their Chinese counterparts. He said that former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had raised the matter during his visit to China in June 2003. The council members were informed that the Chinese government had conveyed to India that 'they would consider the request according to the conditions in Tibet.' P Namgyal of the Congress Party had tabled the question in the council indicating it was in favor of re-opening the border route between Ladakh and China at Demchok post in order to promote trade, tourism and pilgrimage. The state government informed Namgyal and other members that it had, in its communications to the government of India, informed Delhi that a large number of Indian pilgrims faced ordeals during pilgrimages to Kailash Mansarovar in the Himalayas and that pilgrimages via Ladakh could be less strenuous. The council members were also informed that the state government had conveyed to Delhi that the distance from Leh (in Ladakh) to Kailash Mansarovar (China) was 613 kilometers and the entire route was motorable. It would take only two days to reach the holy place by bus as against the 20-day- journey on horse and on foot using the existing route.