India to set up consulate in Chengdu as China says no to Lhasa

K.J.M. Varma, PTI | March 31, 2015

India’s proposal to re-establish a mission in the sensitive Tibetan capital Lhasa did not get a favourable response

India is set to open its third consulate in China in the southwestern city of Chengdu after its proposal to re-establish a mission in the sensitive Tibetan capital of Lhasa which was closed down during the 1962 war did not get a favourable response.

China is set to open its third consulate in India in Chennai. After prolonged talks both sides agreed to establish their consulates in Chengdu and Chennai in a bid to firm up diplomatic ties as relations have improved in recent years with growing trade, investments, official sources told PTI.

Besides the embassy in Beijing, India currently has its consulates in key commercial hubs of Shanghai and Guangzhou in addition to the one at Hong Kong, which is termed as a special administrative region.

China has its consul general missions in Mumbai and Kolkata apart from its embassy in New Delhi.

An official announcement regarding this is expected to be made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing in May. India has settled for Chengdu after China was not receptive to New Delhi’s proposal to re-establish its consulate in Lhasa.

China has agreed to open a new land route for Indian pilgrims to travel to Kailash Mansarovar through Nathu La Pass but is reluctant to allow re-establishment of the Indian consulate in Lhasa, considering its political sensitivities in Tibet.

Nepal is the only country to have a consulate in Lhasa while other countries including the United States have consulates in Chengdu which shares geographical proximity to Tibet besides being the capital of the well industrialized province, Sichuan.

A prominent tourist destination in China, Chengdu houses the famous breeding centre for giant Pandas and the Chengdu Military Command overseeing the India-China border region along Tibet. For China, Chennai will mark a new opening in South India where it is looking to step up investments in the country’s most developed regions. China has undertaken a feasibility study to build a high speed railway connecting Chennai and New Delhi.

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