New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) A total of 1,580 pilgrims will undertake the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra to China this year, with 500 of them taking the Nathu La pass route, the government said today.
The Nathu La pass route for the yatra had been shut by the Chinese after the Doklam standoff last year.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, said the yatra for 2018 is scheduled to take place through the Lipulekh route in Uttarakhand and the Nathu La route in Sikkim from June to September.
“There will be 18 batches of 60 yatris each in the Lipulekh route and 10 batches of 50 yatris each in the Nathu La route,” Singh said.
Last year, Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that following the Doklam stand-off between the forces of India and China, a total of 392 pilgrims selected for travel to Kailash Mansarovar via the Nathu La route in eight batches were affected due to the deferment of the yatra.
Beijing had denied permission to the pilgrims to undertake the yatra from the Nathu La route, saying that it would allow it only if India moved its troops from the Doklam area near Sikkim. However, the yatra from the Nathu La side has resumed.
In 2015, 999 pilgrims undertook the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. In 2016 and 2017, 983 and 919 pilgrims respectively undertook the pilgrimage.
In response to another question on whether China is opposing India’s efforts to construct a road and for providing other infrastructure facilities along the China-Tibet border on the Indian side, Singh said the government gives “careful and specific attention” to the improvement of infrastructure for the development of border areas in order to facilitate the economic development of these areas as also to meet India’s strategic and security requirements.
“Government does not allow foreign governments to interfere with government’s right to undertake such improvement of infrastructure within India’s territory,” Singh said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.