The Chogyal of Sikkim, 51 year-old Palden Thondup Namgyal, flew into New Delhi on Thursday, for talks with India's Foreign Minister, Mr.
The Chogyal of Sikkim, 51 year-old Palden Thondup Namgyal, flew into New Delhi on Thursday, for talks with India's Foreign Minister, Mr. Swaran Singh, about the new status his small Himalayan kingdom is to be given by the Indian Government. Two days earlier, the Chogyal's secretary had said that during the visit he would try and meet the Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
The Chogyal was met and escorted from the Airport to his hotel by a high-ranking official at the Foreign Office. Later in the day, he was visited at his hotel by the Foreign Minister, Mr. Swaran Singh, and the two men talked for nearly two hours.
The Chogyal had been pressing for a meeting with Mrs. Gandhi since 7 September when the Indian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to make Sikkim, an associate State of India. The bill was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the Lower Houses and the Upper House of Parliament. At the moment, Sikkim is a Protectorate of India.
Although the bill has been passed by Parliament, there still remains the formality of it being signed by the Indian President, Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, which will put it into effect. The Chogyal has protested that the legislation amounts to annexation of his kingdom, which is situated strategically between India and Chinese-controlled Tibet. The Sikkim ruler has asked for a referendum in his country on the issue.