China on Friday began operating the first fully electric bullet train in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet that will connect the provincial capital Lhasa and Niyangchi. Niyangchi is a border town of Tibet located close to Arunachal Pradesh.
The 435.5-km-long Lhasa-Nyangchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway was inaugurated on July 1 ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
State news agency ‘Xinhua’ reported that the first electric-powered railway in the Tibet Autonomous Region started on Friday morning from Lhasa to Niyangchi where ‘Fuxing’ bullet trains started official operations in the plateau region.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway in Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It will pass through the southeast region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the most geologically active regions in the world.
In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed officials to expedite work on a new railway project connecting Sichuan province with Niyangchi in Tibet, saying the new rail line would play an important role in safeguarding border stability.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will start from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and will pass through the ship and enter Tibet via Kamdo, reducing the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.
Niyangchi is a provincial-level town of Medog, which is adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which India vehemently rejects. The India-China border dispute is over the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Xinghua University, told the state daily ‘Global Times’ in the past, ‘If there is a crisis scenario on the Sino-India border, the railways will greatly facilitate the delivery of strategic materials to China.