China, India agree to resume Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Ten months after suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, Delhi and Beijing have agreed to resume the pilgrimage during talks between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. "I'm confident that with Chinese side's full cooperation, this year the yatra will be a fulfilling experience for Indian pilgrims," Swaraj said. The pilgrimage had been called off amid the Doklam standoff.
The joint press statement
EAM @SushmaSwaraj begins her Press Statement after meeting with Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi. At the meeting, the two sides reviewed various aspects of bilateral relations and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. pic.twitter.com/vBgKT2xQ8I— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) April 22, 2018
About the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is known for its religious and cultural significance. Hundreds of pilgrims undertake the yatra every year through either of two routes- Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim)- to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, China. It holds significance for the Hindus as the 'Abode of Lord Shiva,' as well as for the Buddhists and the Jains.
Why was the yatra suspended?
The yatra was suspended amid rising tension between India and China at Doklam. The standoff had begun on June 16, when Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from constructing a road on land claimed by Bhutan. It ended nearly 2.5 months later, with both sides agreeing to pull troops out. During the standoff, China had turned back Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims.
China also agrees to resume sharing of Brahmaputra, Sutlej data
China has now also agreed to resume sharing of hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and Sutlej with India, which too was suspended following the standoff. Under existing MoUs, China is obliged to provide India flood season data of the Brahmaputra during May 15-October 15, which is crucial to predict floods in Northeast India, a highly vulnerable region.
How have Sino-India relations been since the Doklam stand-off?
After the standoff, PM Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in September'17. They promised to work towards developing relations amidst global uncertainties. However, since then, China has ramped up infrastructure in the disputed area. Swaraj reached Beijing Saturday for a four-day visit. Modi and Jinping are also set to meet again on April 27-28 at an "informal summit" in Wuhan, China.