China to extend Tibetan railway to Nepal border
At present, land transportation between Tibet and neighbouring Nepal and India is not easy.india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 12:49 IST
China plans to extend its newly opened Tibet railway to its border with Nepal, state media reported on Tuesday.
Meeting with visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the Tibetan government's chairman Qiangba Puncog said Tibet was a remote place that looked forward to being connected to South Asia, the China Daily said.
State media previously said that within 10 years, the railway would also be extended to the Tibetan town of Chomo near the Indian state of Sikkim.
China and Nepal have more than 1,200 kms of border and five open border crossings.
Currently, land transportation between Tibet and neighbouring Nepal and India is not easy.
Nyalam, in Tibet's second largest city Shigatse, is the only border crossing that boasts a highway. The prefecture borders India, Nepal and Bhutan in the south.
According to plans, a branch line will be built next year from the Tibetan capital Lhasa to Shigatse, which is located at an altitude of about 3,800 meters (12,540 feet) and some 270 kms from Lhasa.
The project is expected to take three years. The railway extension will promote business exchanges, said Qiangba Puncog.
The city of Shigatse is the traditional seat of the Tibetan spiritual leader Panchen Lama, and the prefecture is also an important production base for Tibetan agriculture and animal husbandry.
The Tibet railway, which opened in July, stretches 1,956 kms (1,213 miles) from Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, to Lhasa.
It climbs to 5,072 meters (16,737 feet) above sea level along the Tibetan plateau, making it the highest line in the world.
Oli, who is also minister of foreign affairs, arrived in Lhasa Saturday for an eight-day official visit to China.