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Councillor Konchok demands opening of trading point with China in troubled eastern Ladakh

In a 3-page letter written to the defence minister Rajnath Singh, Konchok has said the step will also help “fostering good relationship” with China.

SNS | Jammu |

Amidst the ongoing tension between India and China, Konchok Stanzin, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council’s (LAHDC) councillor of the Chushul constituency along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has demanded the opening of a trading point with China to boost the economy of the border villages in eastern Ladakh.

In a 3-page letter written to the defence minister Rajnath Singh, Konchok has said the step will also help “fostering good relationship” with China.

“We don’t see any problem opening a trading point with China at Chushul as it’s one of the designated Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) points between the Indian and Chinese Armies”, he wrote.

This can be on the pattern of the two other recognized trading points with China at Lipulekh in Uttrakhand and Nathu-La in Sikkim.

Demanding a solid infrastructure at the border villages in eastern Ladakh that was the hotspot during the recent Chinese aggression, Konchok wrote that it is only with proper infrastructure at the border; India can feel confident internally as well as externally and can exhibit boldness in its foreign policy.

The councillor pointed out that after the Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff at several border areas in eastern Ladakh, the Indian troops deployed in Chushul have been restricting shepherds of Maan-Pangong and Chushul from grazing their livestock on “traditional pastureland”, contrasting them with their Chinese counterparts who, according to Konchok, allow their shepherds to move freely.”

“Chinese very often use their nomad community to transgress on our land in a step-by-step approach,” the letter noted while talking about Indian border residents being restricted. “The nomads on the Indian side are soldiers without uniform,” Konchok stressed.

The Ladakhi shepherds earn their livelihood through their livestock by producing the world’s finest Pashmina, Yak wool, cheese and milk. Restrictions should be lifted on their movement on the traditional pasturelands from Hot Spring, Fingers to Kailash Range (Nyanlung Yokma, Gongma).

Describing the situation at the LAC over the past year as “unprecedented”, Konchok demanded land in Leh for border residents “to give safe shelter during a warlike situation.” He also demanded 4G mobile towers for nine border villages to improve connectivity in the region, saying that China, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh are far better than India in terms of communication facilities at their border villages.

He also demanded a quota for the youth of border areas in recruitment to the Army, ITBP and Ladakh Police.