China on Tuesday said it is ready for talks to reopen the Nathu La pass for Indians to Kailash Mansarovar, which it had closed in mid-June over the military standoff at Doklam.
“China is ready to keep communication with the Indian side in regard to opening of the pass and other issues concerning the Indians,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.
While the over two-month standoff at Doklam was resolved last month, the pass through which many Indians go to Kailash Mansarovar in China’s Tibet remained shut.
The Nathu La, the second route for Indians was opened in 2015 by China. The new route is shorter than the one through Lipulekh pass.
“For a long time, China has made great efforts against all odds to provide necessary convenience to Indian devotees,” Geng said.
“And according to the agreement reached between two state leaders (Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and the fact that the western sector of the India-China boundary has been recognised by the two sides, China used to open the pass to the Indians and this operation has gone very well,” Geng said.
“However in this June, Indian troops illegally crossed the border, which led to tensions in the border areas of the two sides,” he added.
The military of both sides were locked in an over two-month stand-off at Doklam in the Sikkim section of the India-China boundary, at the tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan.
It began when the Indian Army on June 16 halted a road construction by China’s People’s Liberation Army at Doka La in the area. China in retaliation stopped the entry of Indians via the Nathu La.
Meanwhile, China said it is unable to share river data with India, owing to the renovation of water statistics centre in Tibet from where the Brahmaputra River flows.
“For a long time, we have conducted cooperation on the river data with the Indian side. But to upgrade and renovate the relevant station in the Chinese side, we do not have the conditions now to collect the relevant statistics of the river,” Geng said.
The Brahmaputra River originates from China’s Tibet and flows flow into Arunachal Pradesh and Asom and for India, hydrological data is helpful in preparing for the floods, which wreaked havoc in its northeast states.
Indo-Asian News Service