A new concern for India has emerged as China has planned to construct a new railway line that will operate near the Line of Actual Control and through the Aksai Chin region as per a report by Railway Technology.
Increased Chinese activity near the LAC has been a matter of concern for India in recent times.
On January 12, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said that there has been a ‘slight increase’ in the number of Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Aksai Chin region was occupied by China during the 1950s and consolidated its military grip over the area during the 1962 Indo-China war. The area remained a point of contention between the two countries.
Tibet’s ‘medium to long-term railway plan’ will help expand the TAR rail network to 4,000km by 2025 from the current 1,400km, the railway technology reported.
Tibet however claims itself to be independent of China. Recently, on February 13, the 13th Dalai Lama proclaimed that his country had been independent for over 100 years. This incident marked an end to the period of domination by China’s Qing (Manchu) dynasty. However, the period of self-rule and independence ended very soon for Tibet as in 1949 China unlawfully occupied Tibet.
Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Tibet’s Declaration of Independence on February 13, Tibet called for an independent fact-finding mission from the United Nations (UN). The request was to hold China accountable for the mistreatment of Tibet’s people and culture, reported Tibet Rights Collective (TRC).
The fact-finding and investigative missions from the UN must consider the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) harmful “environmental policies” in Tibet, and question CCP about the whereabouts of Tibet’s Panchen Lama, who was abducted in 1995.
As per the report by Railway Technology, the project will cover new routes that will continue up to China’s borders with India and Nepal.
Designed to start in Shigatse, Tibet, the proposed rail line will run northwest along the Nepal border before piercing north via Aksai Chin and ending at Hotan, Xinjiang.
Recently UN experts had also expressed how around a million children of the Tibetan minority were being affected by Chinese government policies aimed at assimilating Tibetan people culturally, religiously and linguistically through a residential school system.
The planned route will travel through Rutog and around Pangong Lake on the Chinese side of the LAC.
The first section from Shigatse to Pakhuktso is anticipated to be completed by 2025, while the remaining line section concluding at Hotan is expected to be completed by 2035.
A state media report citing the plan revealed by the TAR Development and Reform Commission stated: “By 2025, the construction of several railway projects, including the Ya’an-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, the Shigatse-Pakhuktso section of the Xinjiang-Tibet Railway, and the Bomi-Ra’uk section of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway will all see significant progress.
“Improvements to the regional railway network will be of great significance in promoting socioeconomic development and safeguarding national security.”
Notably, Along the LAC in the Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh there are areas of differing perception, wherein both sides patrol the area up to their claim lines. This has been the trend since 2006, the sources claimed.