On a day when India is celebrated its independence, China has built inaugurated a railway line close to the Indo-China border in Sikkim. This offers Chinese military to move its troops close to the remote and strategic Himalayan region.
The 253-km-long railway line, built at a cost of USD 2.16 billion, links Tibet's provincial capital Lhasa with Xigaze, the second-largest city in Tibet and also the traditional seat of the pro-Beijing Panchen Lama -- stated to be second important Monk in Tibetan hierarchy.
The new line near the Indian border in Sikkim is also strategically close to China's border with Nepal and Bhutan. It reduces the travel time between Lhasa and Xigaze from the current four hours by highway to around two hours.
Last month, China unveiled plans to construct a new crucial railwayline in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh. The construction of another railwayline linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in the east is also expected to start soon. By 2020, China will have a railway line collecting Xigaze in Tibet with Gyirong county, close to Nepal.
The growing Chinese railway network in Tibet is likely to leverage Beijing's claim over the disputed border region. It would also help Chinese military strategically by reducing the travel time to the remote southern Tibetan region.