In a significant move that could go a long way in improving bilateral relations, China has for the first time officially shown Sikkim as part of India.
The world map in the just-published World Affairs Year Book - 2003/2004 has stopped showing Sikkim as a separate country in Asia and does not mention Sikkim separately in its index of countries.
The official Chinese publication last year had shown Sikkim as a separate country in its map and had mentioned it among "independent" nations.
The formal change of Chinese maps will also seal the commitment implicit in the trade agreement signed during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's historic visit to China in June last year, when the two countries agreed that border trade would be conducted through Chhangu in Sikkim.
The latest Chinese move to formally accept Sikkim's accession to India in 1975 is the second step taken by China since Vajpayee's meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao during which both leaders agreed to find an early solution to pending problems in bilateral ties.