Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trade across China India border, driven underground by govenrments

China and India share thousands of kilometers of border, much of it in not very hospitable heights of the Himalayan mountains. Yet, demand for trade among people on both sides have persisted. Given the lack of enthusiasm in both governments towards more open trade across these borders, smugglers have taken over. Two recent news reports in indicate the rise of barter among traders along parts of China and India border, particularly in Ladakh and western Tibet. Read the reports "Smuggling worth millions across China India border", here and here.

Some of the officials also feel that smuggling was being allowed by the Chinese because it was difficult for them to maintain the essential supplies to western Tibet area from the mainland China. According to the news report quoting Indian officials,
before last year's Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese had set up two temporary shelters in Dumchele area opposite to India's Changthang area where traders from both sides assembled and exchanged goods to the tune of several crores of rupees.
As the Tibetan protests grew during the Olympics, the Chinese closed down this facility and sealed the borders thus paving the way for smugglers from both sides to operate in a major way on barter system.

Though the Indo Tibetan Border Police and Army have been trying to clamp down on these smugglers, but they also admit that it is difficult to curb it because of hundreds of mountain passes which are difficult to man.

Some of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also alleged that a tightened crackdown always saw political intervention by Ladakhis who have been asking the security personnel to allow this trade to carry on as it was a mainstay for many people.
Not surprisingly, when trade is driven underground by law, the criminals and smugglers tend to take over trade. And ordinary people are forced to pay a much higher price.

1 comment:

  1. Now that is what I like to call "TRADE TALKS"