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Leh India became the regional capital in the 17th century, when King Sengge Namgyal shifted his court here from Shey (15 km southeast) to be closer to the head of the Khardung La-Karakoram corridor into China. Very soon, the town blossomed into one of the busiest markets on the Silk Route. Leh's prosperity, managed mainly by the Sunni Muslim traders, came to an abrupt end with the closure of the Chinese border in the 1950s. Only after the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, when India rediscovered its strategic value, did Leh's fortunes begin to look up. Today, khaki-clad soldiers and their families from the nearby military and air force bases are the mainstay of the local economy in winter, when foreign visitors are few. It was in 1974 that Leh was opened up for tourists.