18:52 GMT17 June 2021
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    Nathu La is the shortest land route for trade between India and China. For the past three years, Indian traders had been asking the government to increase the number of traders and vehicles allowed to cross the border each day. Last year, the border stand-off at Doklam resulted in a 90% drop in bilateral trade via this route.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indo-China trade via the Nathu La Mountain pass in India's East Sikkim resumed this week on Monday after the Indian government approved the traders' association's demand of increasing the cap on the number of traders allowed to cross the border in a day.  

    READ MORE: Indians Resume Kailash-Manasarovar Pilgrimage Through Nathu La Pass

    "We have resumed the trade activities from Monday. We also informed authorities about other major issues that the road near Nathu La is blocked by snowfall which delays our commercial activities by almost 15 days in May every year. The Chinese make arrangements in advance. The Indian side too needs to follow suit," S.T. Bhutia, president of the Nathu La Border Traders' Welfare Association, told Sputnik.

    The decision to increase the number of traders was taken in a meeting attended by officials of the local administration of East Sikkim, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the customs and immigration departments and the Sherathang trade mart police in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

    The Indo-China Border Traders Joint Committee had stopped trading on the route, demanding that the number of traders allowed entering the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) in China every trading day should be increased from 40 to at least a hundred.

    Traders have also been demanding an increase in the number of vehicles permitted to enter TAR from the current 60 to at least a hundred. The joint committee has also demanded that the cap on the amount of money each trader is allowed to trade should be increased from INR 2 lakh ($2,845) to INR 10 lakh (around $14,230). However, these demands have not been accommodated in the latest order.

    READ MORE: India Changing Attitude Toward China, Stops to Look Back at US — Analyst

    Nathu La witnesses heavy cross-border trade and transactions every year between May and November, the winter months being a period of lull due to snowfall. The value of exports from India to China in 2016 was $9.5 million which fell to $1.1 million in 2017, while import was at $2.9 million in 2016 and stood at just $0.18 million in 2017.

    India exports more because 36 articles are allowed to be exported from the country while only 20 articles can be imported.


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