China plans upgrading Tibetan Airport to facilitate Kailash Mansarovar visit

New Delhi: China is planning to upgrade a domestic airport to an international one in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to facilitate foreign tourists as well as Indian devotees visiting the holy site of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar according to a senior Chinese official.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, Deputy Commissioner of TAR, Ge Qingmin, said that the proposal to upgrade the Gunsa airport in Ali prefecture would provide convenience to the yatris. However, both India and China will have to work upon the proposal, he added.

During the event, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of TAR, Baimanyangzong, highlighted the efforts undertaken by the Chinese government in improving the infrastructure to facilitate the pilgrims. Deputy Chief of mission at the Chinese embassy, Li Bijian, further noted that issues related to visa-free travel by the pilgrims require bilateral consultations.

In addition, taking a holy dip in the Mansarovar lake has also been restricted by authorities keeping in view the environmental issues. However, people can carry back some water, Bijian said. Former MP Tarun Vijay, who was also present at the event, offered suggestions to the queries of the pilgrims on improving facilities near the holy site.

Thousands of Indian pilgrims take part in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year. The Yatra undertaken from June to September is through two different routes – Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). The NathuLa route was opened to Indian pilgrims in 2015. After crossing over the Nathu La pass, Indian pilgrims are ferried by Chinese transport to Kailash.

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