China to complete Tibet rail link ahead of schedule

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:37 am IST

Published - September 26, 2012 11:27 pm IST - BEIJING:

China is set to complete a strategically significant 253-km rail link from Lhasa to Shigatse, near its border with Nepal, by 2014 — a year ahead of schedule.

Railway authorities say the rail link, which is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, will be completed in two years’ time and will have an annual freight capacity of 8.3 million tonnes, as reported by state-run Xinhua news agency.

China began construction on the rail line — half of it on bridges and in tunnels through the mountains of Tibet — in 2010. The line will also run through the Grand Canyon of the Brahmaputra, or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in Tibet.

Last month, officials said they were working to correct structural defects they had discovered on the Lhasa-Shigatse line, which could “endanger railroad safety”.

Construction defects, including cracks and leaks on tunnel arches and poorly arranged economic cables, were discovered in 12 railway lines across the country in routine inspections, according to a Ministry of Railways document reported on by Economic Observer .

Construction on the line began in 2010 with a budge of 13.3 billion Yuan ($ 2.1 billion). Officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government were quoted as saying in January that the link would be completed in 2015, and would boost tourism and accelerate the transportation of natural resources.

The project is included under the current five year plan (2011-2015) for the TAR, which has also allocated funds for expanding the region’s road network with 5,000 km of roads being built in 2011.

While Chinese officials say the infrastructure investment is directed at boosting development, the plans have been seen by many strategic experts in India and by some officials as aimed at expanding China’s military mobilisation capabilities in the sparsely-populated remote border areas. The projects, they say, will widen infrastructure asymmetry across the border.

Commenting on the issue, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told Parliament last month that the Indian government was monitoring all developments in the neighbourhood that could impact national security.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.