ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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China's Double Standards

China is indulging in double standards against India through the New Silk Road strategy (“Silk Routes versus Sea Lanes: The Return of Landlubbers” by Atul Bhardwaj, EPW, 30 May 2015). While Beijing announces grandiose plans to open new routes, the Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to the opening of the Nathu-la pass in Sikkim for Indian pilgrims going on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. But it still refuses to open the Demchok Road in Ladakh which is the main traditional trade route linking the subcontinent to Tibet and Xinjiang. The Lipulekh and Nathu-la routes are difficult as they involve trekking at altitudes of up to 19,500 feet under unfavourable conditions such as extreme cold and a rugged terrain. The yatra usually takes more than three weeks whereas the Demchok route without going through any high pass provides the easiest access.

China’s “gesture of friendship” is ­an eyewash. China had built a road through the Aksai Chin for its own strategic leverage. The area was so well protected that the road ­construction was not even noticed. ­Regarding Demchok, China’s hypocrisy on the issue should be publicised. India cannot be roped into a Silk Road project if her interests are not taken into ­consideration.

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