China plans extension of railroad to Indian boarder through Tibet
BEIJING: China plans to extend a railroad on the high
trans-Himalayan plateau of Tibet to the borders of India, Bhutan and Nepal by
2020, according to a report in People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the
Chinese Communist Party.
The extension would lengthen a 157-mile rail route
that is expected to open next month from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to
Shigatse, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, a revered spiritual leader.
In 2006, China opened the first railway to Tibet, linking Lhasa to China via
the province of Qinghai.
The planned extension was criticised by Tibet
advocates who said it would bring too many ethnic Han migrants to Lhasa and
other Tibetan areas. The report in People’s Daily on Wednesday cited Yang
Yulin, deputy head of the railways administration in Tibet, saying that two
additional rail lines would be added from Shigatse — one to Yadong, a point
near the Indian and Bhutan borders, and one to Jilong, an area near the border
China and India have a long-running dispute over their
Himalayan border. Two areas are in contention: one in the Aksai Chin area of
China, which abuts the Ladakh region of India, in the western Himalayas; and
the other in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, in the east. Of the two,
the dispute over Arunachal Pradesh is more contentious.