China knocks at India’s door with rail link

China has begun work on extension of its railways to close to Indian border.

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2010, 11:52 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: China last month began work on extension of the world`s highest rail link, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, to Xigaze, the second largest city in Tibet.

The move has caused unease in New Delhi, as the rail link would now be closer than ever to China’s border with Nepal.

As per a report in a leading daily, the Chinese establishment, side-by-side, is also working on extending the rail link upto Nyangtri, which is situated on the border with Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing has long been claiming this area as its own.

While staking claim to some parts of Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Nyangtri or Nyingchi prefecture, the Chinese are also planning to build the largest dam in the world here, apart from diverting the Brahmaputra northwards.

As per the plan, China will extend the rail link to Xigaze near Tibet`s border with Nepal south-west from Lhasa, while the line to Nyangtri will extend towards Arunachal in the south-east.

Why is New Delhi particularly concerned about the rail link extension upto Arunachal? The reason: China reportedly earlier this year, for the first time ever, transported "combat readiness material" meant for the PLA Air Force to the Tibet region through the rail link. According to the PLA Daily, Beijing carried out its first major parachute exercise in Tibet to demonstrate its capability to rapidly send troops on the world`s highest plateau.