In order to boost infrastructure in strategic locations, China on Friday operationalised its first fully electrified bullet train in the remote Himalayan region, connecting the provincial capital Lhasa and Nyingchi, a strategically located Tibetan border town close to Arunachal Pradesh.
The 435.5-km Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway has been inaugurated ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1, as per the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The first electrified railway in Tibet Autonomous Region will link Lhasa with Nyingchi as “Fuxing” bullet trains begin its official operation on the plateau region. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway has come up after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway became operational earlier. It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world”s most geologically active areas.
The construction of the new railway project was expedited on the suggestions of Chinese President Xi Jinping in November because the new rail line would play a key role in safeguarding the border stability.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and travels through Ya”an and enters Tibet via Qamdo, shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.
It is strategically important for India because Nyingchi, a prefecture-level city of Medog being adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border. China has been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which is firmly opposed by India. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC)
The railway line is crucial for China as stated by Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, “If a scenario of a crisis happens at the China-India border, the railway will provide a great convenience for China’s delivery of strategic materials.
Earlier, China dismissed reports about building a village in Arunachal Pradesh, saying the construction activities were within its own territory and its sovereign right. Hence, it becomes all the more important for India to spruce its infrastructure for securing territories even as the development remains the chief instigator cause of conflict between the two nations.