When there's a way, but no will

The long, winding road on the banks of the Tsongmo Lake in the Indian state of Sikkim is a desolate symbol of unfulfilled potential.

Located in the Himalayas, near the Nathula Pass trading post between India and China, it was once part of the ancient Silk Road but later sealed after the Sino-Indian war of 1962.

It was reopened in 2006 and hailed as a sign of improved relations between the two Asian giants, who together account for more than a third of the world's population.

A decade later, however, the Nathula Pass, perhaps, better reflects a trust deficit. The pass does not even account for 1 per cent of overall bilateral commerce between the two economic powerhouses.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'When there's a way, but no will'. Print Edition | Subscribe