"In recent years, Beijing and New Delhi have been engaged in road projects near border regions, and have also made plans to build railways. Mutual suspicion will increase if the highways and railways cannot be connected between the two countries. But if the two can be connected, the entire region can prosper," Global Times said.

The daily praised the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) between India and China signed during Prime Minister Mannmohan Singh's visit here last month.

It marked an important step toward addressing the long term distrust in bilateral ties, an article titled 'Good road make friendly neighbours' in the Global Times here said.

"If New Delhi and Beijing can strictly abide by the pact and conduct frequent dialogues between officials at different levels near the Line of Actual Control, there will be fewer chances of conflicts," it said.

The two nations can then begin considering how to make substantial progress that promotes business and trade in border areas and benefits the general public, it said.

Currently, China and India conduct their USD 66 billion bilateral trade mostly by sea.

A large bulk of Tibet's imports from and exports to India has to pass through the port of Tianjin and then be shipped to the harbour in Kolkotta.

"If the two countries can connect their highways via Nathu La, a mountain pass in the Himalayas, trading cost will drop enormously. Nathu La is located 460 kilometers from Lhasa, and there are several highways from this historical place to northern India, eastern Nepal and northern Bangladesh," it said.

The countries already trade through Nathu La located in Sikkim but on a limited scale.

The two sides had agreed to consider strengthening border trade through Nathu La Pass during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India.

Agreements between New Delhi and Beijing limit trade across Nathula to 29 types of goods from India and 15 from the Chinese side after it was reopened in 2006.


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