An article in the May 22nd edition of “The Hindu”, original title: China keen on India joining Tibet-Nepal railway network.
A senior advisor to the Chinese government (on Tibetan affairs) said China is very keen on India joining Tibet-Nepal railway network. He expressed this to a group of visiting journalists at the end of their in-depth visit to Tibet.
Director of the Institute of Historical studies at the China Tibetology Research Center, Zhang Yun said “According to the discussions held between the Prime Ministers of China and Nepal, this railway line should link all the three sides.” The Chinese side is very actively constructing this railway line, “The Nepalese side too is supporting it strongly. Bur in India, while, there is a faction which believes this will help improve the relations between the two sides, another faction thinks it will harm India.” He said the railway network of China Nepal and India will soon be connected. “This is the only way for the three nations to benefit. We really want the railways of the three countries to enjoy synergy.”
Tibet’s High-elevation modern railway line meanders through tunnels and goes along a height of several thousand meters. Not only is it an engineering marvel but it also shows China’s determination to intervene in Tibet’s ambitions with finances.
Although the Chinese economy is facing a slowdown, Tibet’s autonomous region continues to post double digit growth just as before. This is largely due to Beijing’s massive capital investment. China envisions achieving a national per capita of $12,000 by the year 2020, with no region or ethnic group left behind. Infrastructure will continue to grow. Urban as well as rural dwellers both will have better lives. Therefore construction of wide roads and elevated highways to link the remote villages in Tibet has now become a necessity.
Beijing is investing heavily in Tibet, comprises construction of railways, roads and airports everywhere at high altitudes. The world’s highest railway station (Tanggula Railway Station), the highest civilian airport (Daocheng Yading airport) and some of the best roads at an altitude of few thousand meters are all located in Tibet.
China has developed a two pronged strategy for the railways leading to Tibet and within Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). One is to build a new railway from Tibet to Mainland (which will connect Sichuan Province with Lhasa). Authorities also want to add six railway lines to the existing Qinghai – Tibet railway. And another is from Lhasa to Xigaze (or Shigatse) closer to the border of Nepal.
Last week, China sent the first freight train to Nepal along this line. It left from Lanzhou in Gansu Province for its destination Kathmandu in Nepal. In Xigaze (Shigatse), the goods will be loaded onto trucks. (Author: Josy Joseph, translation Wang Beizhe)