September 18, 2009
India-China Border Brouhaha
Fact is the area has virtually open borders and trade flows freely as it has for decades. On the Indian side the border with Tibet's Ngari Prefecture at gorgeous Pangong Tso (Lake) was opened to tourism a few years ago. As recently as 2008 on the Chinese side Burang County was also open to travelers. Even today with restrictions on Tibet travel it is possible with the right paperwork and connections to obtain permits to travel the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway and visit the area. Without military tension the region is ripe for tourist development.
But the fuss on the Indian side may be due to the discovery a few years back of very high quality uranium deposits in the area around Pangong. Even with access to uranium supplies courtesy the USA-India nuclear deal, New Delhi may want to hold fast to the region lest Beijing attempt an economic absorption. Will the people of Ladakh go along or will the region be plunged into the type of chaos and instability found just a few hundred miles away in Gilgit-Baltistan and Afghanistan?
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