For the first time after its closure following the Indo-China war of 1962, the Nathu La border was used by a delegation of Indian officials coming back from Lhasa to cross over into Sikkim on Tuesday.
The six member delegation had been to the Tibetan capital to assess the Chinese preparedness for resumption of border trade between the two Asian giants through the Nathu La and set a date for its opening.
The delegation consisted of Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Christy Fernandez; Joint Secretary, Border Management (Ministry of Home Affairs), HS Brahma; Commander of 63 Mountain Bridge, Brigadier Narasihman; Director in charge of China in the Ministry of External Affairs, Saurabh Kumar; Director Central Board of Customs and Excise, MK Singh; and Secretary of Sikkim's Commerce and Industries Department Karma Gyatso.
A host of senior state government officials led by Chief Secretary ND Chingapa went from Gangtok to the Nathu La border on Tuesday to receive the Indian delegates.
Later chatting informally with reporters at Sherathang, about five kms down the border outpost, Christy Fernandez, who had led the Indian delegation to Lhasa said infrastructurally India was far more prepared than China for the impending trade.
Asked about the date for resumption of trade between the two countries through the Himalayan pass Fernandez said as per the minutes of the meeting with Chinese officials held at Lhasa the date had been set for July 6 but it was subject to the concurrence of the Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling.