China reaches at India’s doorsteps with strategic rails

Ritu Sharma, in a report on 15JUL12 from the Indian Express notes:

While the Indian government is deliberating on the idea of who will finance the construction of 14 strategic railway lines in the inhospitable and inaccessible regions of Ladakh and North-east, China has started work on extending its railway line from Lhasa—the capital city of Tibet—to cities near the Sino-Indian border at a huge cost of about $10 billion. Slicing through the geographical barriers, the railway line will cut the time taken for Chinese troop mobilisation by half.

As per the intelligence gathered by the Indian armed forces, the two lines connecting Lhasa to Yatung (a major trading town just about 30 km from Sino-Indian border) and to Linzhi (about 70-80 km from the border) will be complete by 2017. Yatung is situated at the mouth of the Chumbi Valley and is connected to the Indian state of Sikkim via the Nathula Pass.

This development will further tilt the strategic advantage in China’s favour as it gets cozy with the communist government of the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal and strengthen its foothold in Aksai Chin, a territory claimed by India as its own. The rail link to Khasa is likely to be aligned with the Friendship Highway from Shigatse to Khasa, and further till Kathmandu.

IE 16JUL12


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