From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nathu La Pass
Mains level : Not Much
Several people have been killed and many others are feared trapped under snow after a massive avalanche near Sikkim’s Nathu La Mountain pass.
Nathu La Pass
|Location||Sikkim, on the border between India and China|
|Altitude||4,310 meters (14,140 ft)|
|Importance||Historical Silk Route|
|Trade||Reopened in 2006 for border trade between India and China|
|Restrictions||Only for Indian and Chinese nationals with a valid visa|
|Connectivity||Connects the Indian state of Sikkim with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China|
|Military importance||Strategic importance in the Sino-Indian War of 1962|
|Tourism||Restricted due to the sensitive nature of the region|
|Weather||Harsh and unpredictable, with heavy snowfall in winter months|
|Border dispute||The pass was closed by China after the 1962 war and was reopened only after the Chinese president visited India in 2003.|
How has it been at the centre stage of India-China disputes?
- Sino-Indian War: In 1962, Nathu La pass was a battleground between the Indian and Chinese armies during the Sino-Indian War. The conflict resulted in casualties on both sides, with China ultimately capturing the pass.
- Skirmishes in 1967: In 1967, there were several minor skirmishes between the Indian and Chinese armies near Nathu La pass. The conflict was resolved through diplomatic negotiations.
- Standoff in 2017: In 2017, there was a 73-day-long standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies near the Doklam plateau, which is close to Nathu La pass. The dispute was over the construction of a road by China in the disputed area. The standoff ended with both sides agreeing to disengage.