China inaugurates 1st fully electrified bullet train near Indo-Tibetan border
China on Friday unveiled its first fully electrified bullet train in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet. The bullet train connects the provincial capital Lhasa and Nyingchi, which is a strategically located Tibetan border town close to Arunachal Pradesh.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi section is a part of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the 435.5km-long corridor has been integrated ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1.
Nyingchi is the prefecture-level city of Medog, which is adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of South Tibet. The claims have been firmly rejected by India. The India-China border row stretches over China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which is firmly rejected by India. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
This is the first electrified railway to be made operational in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway into Tibet following the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which will travel through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, reported to be one of the world's most active geolocation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had directed officials in November last year to expedite the construction of the new railway project, connecting Sichuan Province and Nyingchi in Tibet, as he said that the new rail line would be a key player in safeguarding border interest and stability.
"If a scenario of a crisis happens at the China-India border, the railway will provide a great convenience for China's delivery of strategic materials," Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University told the official daily Global Times, reported PTI.
Through the train, which has a speed of 160km per hour, the travel time between Lhasa and Nyingchi has reduced from five hours to approximately 3.5 hours and the travel time between Shannan, which is one of the stations where the train will stop and Nyingchi from six hours to approximately two hours, as per a report by Xinhua news agency.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, goes through Ya'an and enters Tibet via Qamdo. The journey from Chengdu to Lhasa is reduced from 48 hours to 13 hours.
(With inputs from PTI)