News / Asia

China to Extend Rail Line from Tibet to India, Nepal

FILE - Workers take a break sitting on the tracks leading to the platform of the newly opened Lhasa train station in Lhasa, Tibet, China.
FILE - Workers take a break sitting on the tracks leading to the platform of the newly opened Lhasa train station in Lhasa, Tibet, China.

China plans to extend a railway line linking Tibet with the rest of the country to the borders of India, Nepal and Bhutan by 2020 once an extension to a key site in Tibetan Buddhism opens, a state-run newspaper reported on Thursday.

China opened the railway to Tibet's capital Lhasa in 2006, which passes spectacular icy peaks on the Tibetan highlands, touching altitudes as high as 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level, as part of government efforts to boost development.

Critics of the railway, including exiled Tibetans and rights groups, say it has spurred an influx of long-term migrants who threaten Tibetans' cultural integrity, which rests on Buddhist beliefs and a traditional herding lifestyle.

The Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said that an extention to Shigatse, the traditional seat of Tibetan Buddhism's second-highest figure, the Panchen Lama, would formally open next month.

2016-2020 extension

That link is scheduled for its own extension during the 2016-2020 period to two separate points, one on the border of Nepal and the other on the border with India and Bhutan, the newspaper cited Yang Yulin, deputy head of Tibet's railways, as saying, without providing details.

China has long mooted this plan, but the difficulty and expense of building in such a rugged and remote region has slowed efforts.

Tibet is a highly sensitive region, not just because of continued Tibetan opposition to Chinese control, but because of its strategic position next to India, Nepal and Myanmar.

The Chinese announcement coincides with a drive by India, under its new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to consolidate its influence with its smaller neighbors.

Visit to Nepal

Modi's foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, heads to Nepal on Friday with a proposed pact to help develop the Himalayan country's hydro-electric power potential high on the agenda.

Modi, who made his first foreign trip as prime minister to Bhutan, is to visit Nepal next month. But Nepal's opposition Maoists are uneasy about the hydro-electric plan and say it could lock out China to the benefit of Indian companies.

India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 over the region at the eastern end of the Himalayas. The nuclear-armed neighbors signed a pact in October to ensure that differences on their shared border do not spark a confrontation.

India and China have competing claims over what India calls Arunachal Pradesh, which has been administered by India for decades and what China calls South Tibet.

China's Communist army occupied Tibet in 1950. Nine years later, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising. 

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Comment Sorting
by: Tsewang from: Birmingham
August 02, 2014 10:30 AM
Although building infrastructure can be good if balance is kept well, but here! We need to think about it's motives and the manner in which it use. This is possibility of creating another strategic points of world, which can harm and effects whole world through political, economical and many mores. As far as looking at current relationships and as well as past, bringing them near could be alarming if the motives is not clear and good. Tibet freedom could be the very best solution to keep balance between two big nation and also good for balance for whole Asia. This is favour for whole world from me, otherwise regarding Tibet no Govt open support for Tibet, it's the ordinary people who really support Tibet issue. They mostly lost moral authority infront of economic and it's might. I can count u.n. Resolution for Tibet cause in my one hand fingers compare with palestinian more then hundreds! Tibetans adopted completely peaceful or non violence , but it hardly touch to rest of the world nations and there medias. I think if Tibet solution is solved, then Palestinian solution can be solve and the problems a like in rest of the world. Because Tibet can set a example of success through non violence and dialogue , which rest like us will adopt the same method.

by: Bibek khanal from: kathmandu
August 02, 2014 5:35 AM
Great! Hail PR-China. We love China rather than the imperialist India. We will more Soreign n self dependent by this.

by: Murari from: Kathmandu
July 24, 2014 8:30 PM
Wonderful thinking of China to support infrastructure development of Nepal and Bhutan and create linkage for better economic relations.
In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NY
July 25, 2014 10:29 AM
The CCP isn't building this railway to support development in Nepal & Bhutan. They're building it to transport Chinese migrants and the PLA into Tibet while extracting Tibet's natural resources. Tibetans have no say in whether this railway gets built or not. If the CCP decides one day to annex Nepal & Bhutan (they are already controlling Nepal's Govt), they will use this railway to transport the PLA into these 2 countries.

by: william li from: canada
July 24, 2014 2:05 PM
I am so proud of my motherland!

Go China Go! we will build high speed train rails to every corner of the world.

trains are safer than planes!
In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NY
July 25, 2014 10:32 AM
Thank you, comrade Li. Your 50 cents is in the mail. Meanwhile Tibetans suffer under Chinese colonial rule & CCP tyranny. Tibetans have no rights and no political or economic power in our own homeland. The CCP attacks our religion, our culture, our very way of life and those Tibetans who dare to speak out against the CCP's policies are jailed, beaten and murdered.
In Response

by: Buzzby from: Ohio
July 24, 2014 9:59 PM
"This has been a paid political announcement"

by: albato
July 24, 2014 6:01 AM
China extent the railway to Tibet and rest of areas to develop the area/region.

If China didn't do it, the critics will say China neglecting these regions. And not to develop these regions. Resulting these regions to stay poor.

If China does extent the railway to link those regions, the critics will also have something else to say that China is trying to influence or change the nature culture of native society in the region.

Oh God, what should China do ?
In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NY
July 25, 2014 10:35 AM
The Tibetan people were not consulted about the Lhasa Railway or these planned extensions within Tibet. Nor did the Tibetan people give their consent to such "development." China spent over $4 billion on the Lhasa Railway, which is more than what China has spent on health care & education in Tibet in the last 4 decades. Tibet still has the highest illiteracy rate in the PRC, only 15% of Tibetans have a secondary education, and the per capital income of Tibetans is half of that in Bhutan. So in exchange for this railway, all \Tibetans had to go was give up their religion, culture & freedom.
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
July 24, 2014 12:56 PM
China should give Tibet its country back, return all territories it stole from Vietnam, India and other countries that it borders.

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