China gives no reason for suspending Mansarovar Yatra, says in touch with India
China on Monday refused to give reasons for not allowing pilgrims on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to cross the border, saying the two foreign ministries were in “communication”.
The annual pilgrimage, flagged off earlier this month by India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, was suspended after China didn’t allow a batch of Indians to go through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim in India’s northeast.
They were to cross over to the Chinese side on June 19 but failed to do so due to inclement weather and had to wait at the base camp.
On June 23, China denied entry to them citing damage to roads, forcing several people to return to Sikkim’s capital Gangtok.
“Yes, there are some difficulties being experienced in movement of Kailash Mansarovar Yatris via Nathu La. The matter is being discussed with the Chinese side,” a ministry of external affairs official had said.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said “the two foreign ministries are communicating on this issue”.
At least seven batches of 50 pilgrims each were to cross over to Tibet through the Nathu La Pass on their way to Mount Kailash, held sacred by the Buddhists, Hindus and Jains.
Eighteen batches of 60 pilgrims each will be on their way to Kailash through a second but a tougher route that runs through Lipu Lekh pass in Uttarkhand, close to Nepal border.
The Nathu La route was inaugurated in June 2015.
Till then, every year 18 batches of 60 Indians undertook the journey through the Lipu Lekh pass between May and September.
The new route — administered by the Tibet Autonomous Region government on the Chinese side — cut short the trekking time, allowing pilgrims to make the journey on bus.
With agency inputs