Beijing: China has launched its first fully electric bullet train connecting the capital of Tibet autonomous region, Lhasa and border town Nyingchi. The train operates in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet, close to Arunachal Pradesh. The railway section is 435.5 km long.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had announced that the new rail will play a key role in safeguarding border stability, reported the state-run Xinhua news agency.
China has been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which led to the border dispute with India. The issue pertains to a 3,488km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). India has been firmly rejecting the claim for years.
If a crisis forms at the China-India border, the new railway section will provide a great convenience for China to deliver strategic materials, said the director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, Qian Feng to Global Times.
The Sichuan-Tibet railway goes through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the most geologically active areas in the world. The new railway shortens the travel time from 48 hours to 13 hours. It starts from Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan) and enters Tibet via Ya'an and Qamdo.
The town of Nyingchi also has an airport. It is one of the five airports China built in the Himalayan region.
Lin Minwang, deputy director at the Center for South Asian Studies at Fudan University said that the new railway section will enable Tibet to be more connected to the Chinese mainland. The region will have much stronger capabilities in material transportation and logistic supplies, reported the Global Times.
Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at the Tibet University in Lhasa told Global Times that the new railway line will also enhance the economic development of the Tiber region. Tibet is known for its mineral reserves and medicinal herbs. The Sichuan-Tibet railway is expected to boost local tourism.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway was inaugurated today ahead of the hundredth anniversary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1.