External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said the forthcoming Kailash Mansarovar Yatra would also have the additional route of Nathu La pass in Sikkim which has been opened for the pilgrims.
She was speaking after presiding over the computerized draw of lots for the selection of Yatris for the forthcoming Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2018 here on Tuesday. Addressing the media, she said: ``"I had told the Chinese Foreign Ministry that relations between governments cannot prosper until people-to-people relations are improved when Nathu La pass was closed during last year’s Yatra, it came as a blow to people. I am happy to announce that it has now been opened for Yatra."
"We will send 18 batches, of 60 pilgrims each, through Lipulekh Pass and 10 batches, of 50 pilgrims each, through Nathu La Pass. Around 1580 pilgrims will undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra this year," the Minister said. Last month Ms. Swaraj had visited China to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)'s Foreign Ministers' meeting and had also met her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
Organised by Ministry of External Affairs, the Yatra is scheduled to begin from June 8 and will continue till September 8 this year. Selection of the Yatris is done through a computerized draw- a computer-generated, random, gender-balanced transparent selection process. This year 3734 applicants had successfully registered online at the website for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which includes 2818 male applicants, and 916 female applicants, according to an MEA release. As one of the most sacred pilgrimages for Hindu, Buddhist and Jain pilgrims, the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is a flagship public outreach initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs.
``It is the Ministry’s constant endeavour to make the Yatra comfortable and safe for the Yatris, allowing them a fulfilling spiritual experience. The Ministry also appoints Liaison Officers from Central and State Governments for each batch to assist the Yatris during the pilgrimage. Starting this year, the government has decided to include two Liaison Officers in each batch, to render better assistance to the Yatris as part of Ministry’s citizen-friendly initiative. Some of the Liaison Officers would also have previous experience of the Yatra which could be of further advantage to the Yatris,’’ the release added.
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is organised every year by the Ministry of External Affairs with support from Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Ministry of Home Affairs, the State Governments of Delhi, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, Ministry of Defense, and some civil society organizations. UNI