As China showcased its 70th national day celebrations with an extravagant show of military power in Beijing, senior Indian Army officers in key sectors along the disputed frontier crossed over into China to join the celebrations.
The Border Post Meetings, a key confidence building measure, comes at a time when there has been tension in the Ladakh region. Last month, there were skirmishes between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the North Bank of the Pangong Lake when they clashed due to deferring interpretations of the Line of Actual Control. The situation was de-escalated after senior officers of both sides met.
Today, at 10 am, at the Nathu La Pass in North Sikkim, officers of the People's Liberation Army came across the border to receive India's Nathula garrison commander, Brigadier KS Dhadwal.
Moments later, on the Chinese side, Brigadier Dhadwal and senior officers accompanying him were greeted by a Chinese Senior Colonel (equivalent to Brigadier) and taken to the Chinese Border Hut where for the next three hours, there were delegation-level talks between both sides followed by a 45-minute cultural programme. Indian soldiers presented two songs in Mandarin, on which they had worked for several months.
Nathu La is a key border trading point where 60 lorries from either side cross the border Monday to Thursday under escort. So far this year, Indian traders have exported Rs. 26.8 crores, considerably more than imports from the Chinese side which amounted to Rs. 2.26 crore.
Nathu La is also the route through which the Kailash Mansoravar yatra passes. A bi-weekly international mail service also operates through the pass when postal workers of either side hand over their respective parcels.