Discuss India-China political and economic relations with special emphasis on Sikkim. What policy suggestions you make for Indian Government in this context? Opine.
Sikkim is a strategic territory for both India and China.
India and China had signed a memorandum of understanding to start border trade through Nathu La Pass in Sikkim and Tibet.
In the 2005 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stated that Sikkim “is no longer an issue in India-China relations”.
Rumtek Monastery is of great importance to Chinese. India has announced e-visa facility for Chinese tourists. The two sides in 2015 also signed an agreement that provides an additional route for the annual Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La Pass in Sikkim, in addition to the existing Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.
The railway line from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim is of strategic importance for India as well as China. It is likely to accelerate socio-economic development of the people in the region once built.
After Vajpayee’s visit to China in 2003, both countries agreed to resume trade through Nathu La pass and signed the declaration of principles for relations and comprehensive cooperation including the memorandum on expanding border trade that provided for the formal reopening of Nathu La as a border trade pass between Indian and China.
In 2003, China invested about 200 billion RMB in infrastructure projects in the
western region. China has further unveiled its plans to extend the Chinese National Rail Network to the border with India. Nathu La will help China in connecting to Kolkata, the closet warm water port to Lhasa.
Trade through Nathu La is in the interest of people from both sides of the border and would bring economic prosperity.
Chinese infrastructure has been increasingly developed and is trying to get a stronghold in this peaceful state. India should keep in mind the urgency of this situation.
India needs to focus on road connectivity and build all weather roads capable of carrying a high volume of trade. It is important for India to revise its frontier policy and should devise policies, which will be pragmatic and proactive. Bureaucratic and procedural hurdles have to be curtailed in order to improve our strategic assets in this strategic State.