China has suspended the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nathu La but refused to spell out why it did not allow the pilgrims to cross the border. “The two foreign ministries are communicating on this issue,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Monday, according to Hindustan Times.
The Mansarovar Yatra, which was flagged off by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on June 11, was suspended on June 23 after China told around 50 Indian pilgrims that they would be allowed to enter only after the weather and road conditions improve. The pilgrims, who were supposed to cross over to Tibet via the Nathu La Pass in Sikkim, had to return to Gangtok.
After China denied the Indians entry, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said that some difficulties were being experienced in the movement of pilgrims through Nathu La. “[The] Matter is being discussed with Chinese side,” PTI had quoted him as saying.
This year, seven batches of 50 pilgrims each were to cross over to Tibet through Nathu La while 18 batches of 60 pilgrims each will reach Kailash through Lipu Lekh pass in Uttarkhand, reported Hindustan Times. The Nathu La route was inaugurated in June 2015. Administered by the Tibet Autonomous Region government on the Chinese side, it cuts short the trekking time.
Alleged transgression by Chinese troops
Chinese troops allegedly entered India in the Sikkim sector and jostled with Army personnel on Monday, reported PTI. They also destroyed two bunkers in Doka La area, which is a Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. The Indian troops formed a human chain along the Line of Actual Control to stop the Chinese personnel from advancing further.
Similar face-offs have been going on in this area of Sikkim for the last 10 days. In November 2008, the Chinese forces had destroyed some makeshift Indian Army bunkers at the same place.