Gangtok: Sikkim government has decide to keep National Highway-10 and other connecting highways open only for ’emergency Army vehicles’ in the wake of border disputes with China in Ladakh.
The decision was taken by chief minister Prem Singh Golay following an all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Rajnath Singh on Friday evening. The state government has asserted that there are no “border disputes in Sikkim’s border with China”, however the decision was taken as a precautionary measure.
Addressing the media on Saturday morning, press advisor to CM, CP Sharma, and political secretary to the CM, Jacob Khaling, said, “Keeping in mind the border dispute with China, Sikkim also falls in the sensitive zone with army movement taking place. Our chief minister has taken the decision to keep the national highway open for emergency army vehicle movement. It may also include all the connecting highways to be kept free for army movement while also curtailing the civilian vehicle movement, if need be. Keep the road clear is one way of extending support to the country in the current scenario and Sikkim will abide by the guidelines and decisions led by the Central government.”
Asserting that “war like scenario could arise in Sikkim”, Sharma claimed that there is no border tension between the two nations.
“There are concerns on the need for infrastructure development in the border towns of the State, and Sikkim will extend all support to the Indian Army. China has time and again overlooked or quashed many agreements with India. They did something similar back in 1962, as they went on to backstab India. In the present scenario, the Central leadership has asserted that no part of India has been overtaken by China and the Line of Actual Control is still being maintained. The Central Leadership has also called for avoiding politicizing the issue at the borders,” they said.
On the nationwide decision to avoid Chinese products to strengthen country’s economy, Sikkim also extended support to boycott Chinese products while also maintaining that the cross-border trade with China from Sherathang, in Nathula has remained closed since November, last year and will continue to remain so till the Centre takes a decision in this regard.
On Friday, Sikkim also joined the rest of the country in paying homage to the martyred Indian soldiers during clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Area of Ladakh, with a ceremony at MG Marg. The solemn ceremony was attended by Governor Ganga Prasad, urban development minister Arun Upreti and Gangtok’s BJP MLA YT Lepcha.
Governor Ganga Prasad expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.
“China should get this clear message that today India is way equipped, stronger and forward than it used to be in 1962. India is a peace-loving nation and believes in having cordial relation with its neighbouring countries. However, this incident has created fury in the entire nation and the Prime Minister has assured that the sacrifices of our Jawans will not go in vain. India is fully equipped to respond, and the defence forces are having serious discussions on this issue and will definitely take stringent action as per the demands of our citizens,” the governor said.