India urged to expand border trade with China

July 27th, 2012 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) India should facilitate more border trade with China with better connectivity and more commerce opportunities including on the Natu La trading point in Sikkim, says a think tank report.

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Friday released the report laying out a roadmap to increase the potential of economic engagement between India and China and other neighbouring countries.

Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo and Minister of State for Urban Development Saugata Roy released the report, “Trans-Himalayan Trade and Development 2020: Looking Beyond Nathu La”, on the India-China border trade at the 14,140 feet high Himalayan border in Sikkim.

The report strongly believes that India’s attempt at facilitating economic exchanges with China will benefit all players in South Asia.

“Moreover, intangible gains in terms of acquiring a substantial stature within the region will also be important for India,” says the report.

The India-China trade through Nathu La resumed in 2006 after being closed down following the border conflict in 1962.

The border trade between India and China is conducted along three mountain corridors — Gunji in Uttarakhand, Namgiya Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Nathu La in Sikkim.

The report recommends that the border trade should go beyond these select points.

It suggests improving the inter and intra-state infrastructure along the Sino-Indian border in all states, from Jammu and Kashmir to the northeast.

The connectivity between India’s border states with neighboring countries should be improved with better road infrastructure.

The report also recommends expansion of the trade basket on Nathu La, for which a survey of Tibetan market needs to be done in collaboration with the local chambers of commerce.

“Since the current list of tradable items across Nathu La is inadequate to benefit the local communities, the trade basket should be expanded.”

Besides, the two countries should organize regular trade fairs and revice the old ones along the border.

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