PITHORAGARH: Local people have decided not to take part in border trade with China through Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand this year, citing the coronavirus threat.
They conveyed their unwillingness to participate in the annual exercise during a preparatory meeting convened by the administration on Wednesday, Dharchula sub-divisional magistrate A K Shukla said.
"Indian traders have decided not to do trade with China through Lipulekh pass this year as a precaution against COVID-19," Shukla said.
Officials said there has been no word so far from the Centre as well on border trade as the lockdown against coronavirus continues.
"As China happens to be the epicentre of the deadly virus, we should exercise caution and not enter that country," said Vishan Garbiyal, patron of Bharat-Chin Vyapar Sangathan, which represents tribal traders.
India-China border trade through Lipulekh pass, located at a height of 17,000 feet in Pithoragarh district's Chand valley, resumed in 1992 after remaining suspended for decades following the 1962 India-China War.
It begins in June every year and goes on till October.
India recently inaugurated a road linking Lipulekh pass with Dharchula, triggering tensions with Nepal as the neighbouring country claimed that it passed through its territory.
There is also tension between India and China at some other points on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where troops from the two sides are locked in a standoff for weeks now.