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China launches first bullet train in Tibet, close to Arunachal border

China launches first bullet train in Tibet, close to Arunachal border


China launches first bullet train in Tibet, close to Arunachal border

China has launched first high-speed train service between provincial capital Lhasa and Nyingchi, strategically located Tibetan border town close to Arunachal Pradesh. The bullet train service has been operationalised ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1. The construction of the 435km-long high-speed train corridor, also the first electrified railroad in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) linking the two cities, began in 2014.

The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway into Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s most geologically active areas, news agency PTI reported. The high-speed rail connection is widely-believed to be a part of China’s ambitious plan of expanding connectivity across TAR, especially along border areas with India. Nyingchi is located less than 50km from the border with Arunachal Pradesh.

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping had directed officials to expedite construction of the new railway project, connecting Sichuan Province and Nyingchi in Tibet, saying the new rail line would play a key role in safeguarding the border stability.

With the launch of the service, the Fuxing bullet train series will be available in all provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland, said the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and travels through Ya’an and enters Tibet via Qamdo, shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.

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Speaking with Global TImes, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, Qian Feng, “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.

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