|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
China is far ahead: Antony at the border
December 02, 2007 18:18 IST
Upset over the poor infrastructure along the Sino-Indian border in Sikkim, Defence Minister A K Antony on Sunday said he would "vigorously" pursue for taking urgent steps to develop the frontier areas to match China.
"It is an eye-opener for me. There is no comparison between the two sides. Infrastructure on the Chinese side is far superior. They have gone far in developing their infrastructure," Antony said after visiting this border post located at an altitude of 14,140 feet.
Antony said one should not grumble over the lack of connectivity on the Indian side and do the needful to improve them.
"As I have personally seen the lack of infrastructure and the difficult conditions in which the soldiers are protecting the border, I will vigorously champion the cause of the armed forces," he said.
The government is also contemplating to expand the list of goods to be traded through this mountainous pass, he told reporters.
On the issue of widening the list of items to be traded with China at the border post, Antony said, "It is a good beginning. Our idea is to increase the trade gradually. I hope in the years to come, more and more items would be included for trade."
Currently Indian traders can buy 15 items from Chinese traders and sell 29 items to them at Nathu La trading post.
"It is a gradual process. People of both sides will be benefited out of it. But before that we need to develop our infrastructure," the minister said.
"We need to develop the infrastructure not only for army but for common people. We have to take it up seriously," Antony said.
The trading centre between northeastern states and China does not operate for four months due to extreme cold conditions. Trading at Nathu La ended on November 30 and will resume on April 1.
Antony later interacted with soldiers posted in the forward areas and senior army officials briefed him about the situation along the border in Sikkim sector.