Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, was given an enthusiastic welcome when she arrived in?
Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, was given an enthusiastic welcome when she arrived in Sikkim on Wednesday (19 November) on her first visit to the former protectorate since it voted to join the Indian federation earlier this year.
Mrs. Gandhi began her tour of Sikkim with a visit to Rangpo, where she was greeted by the state's Governor B.B.Lall and the Chief Minister Kazi Lendhup Dorji. Crowds of children chanted and waved flowers as they surrounded the Rangpo helipad when the Prime Minister arrived.
Marking her visit and the fact that Wednesday was her 58th birthday, Sikkim government ministers honoured the Prime Minister with garlands. In addition, Wednesday was proclaimed a Citizen's Day throughout the rest of India.
The rapturous welcome at Rangpo was repeated later in the day when Mrs. Gandhi arrived in Gangtok, capital of the northeastern mountain state which borders with Chinese-ruled Tibet.
Crowds of women and children rushed forward to fling garlands at the Prime Minister as she drove into the city, accompanied by Kazi Dorji. Mrs. Gandhi was given a taste of Sikkim's traditional music as hundreds of colourfully-dressed Lamas lined the route, clashing cymbals as the Prime Minister passed. Later Mrs. Gandhi, accompanied by her two sons, attended a cultural event in the capital.
On the following day, Mrs. Gandhi implicity accused China of hostile activities in India's borders. The Press Trust of India quoted Mrs. Gandhi as saying at a rally in Gangtok that the territory had to be strong in the interest's of India's security.
China accused India of annexing Sikkim when former Himalayan kingdom was absorbed as India's 22nd state. India has heavy troop concentrations in the state, potentially the fastest land-route into India from Tibet.