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On 28 Aug a High Level Meeting between CCP Members was held. During that meeting, the President of China Xi Jinping lauded achievements and praised frontline officials but said more efforts were needed to enrich, rejuvenate and strengthen unity in the region. In doing so, China is planning a more than 1 trillion Yuan ($146 billion) push to accelerate infrastructure investment in Tibet, including new and previously announced projects. The renewed push to step-up development of the remote and impoverished region signals Beijing’s intent to bolster frontier security amid heightened border tensions with India in recent months.
Rail Development in Tibet
Beijing has long aimed to build a high-speed rail network to make Tibet more accessible from China’s inland provinces, and it plans to improve or extend railways being planned or constructed that connect it with other parts of China, two of the sources said. Last month, China announced plans to expand the country’s railway network by one-third over the next 15 years.
What all projects are being planned?
The construction plans include,
- Completion of the challenging middle section of a high-elevation Sichuan-Tibet railway link
- A railway line between Nepal and Tibet that has remained in the planning stages
- A newly planned dry port in the Tibet Autonomous Region
Sichuan-Tibet Railway Link
Construction on the most difficult section of the Sichuan-Tibet railway linking Chengdu with Lhasa – will begin in coming weeks. The 270 billion Yuan section of the railway has been known for construction challenges posed by rough terrain and complex geology, notably the segment linking Sichuan’s Ya’an city with Nyingchi in southeastern Tibet near the border with India.
Nepal-Tibet Rail Line
Nepal is a buffer between China and India and is considered by New Delhi as its natural ally, but China has made inroads by pouring aid and infrastructure investment into what is one of the world’s poorest countries.The China–Nepal Railway is a planned railway between China and Nepal. The railway will link Kathmandu with Shigatse, Tibet, crossing the China–Nepal border at Gyirong–Rasuwa. First extension of the Tibetan Railway, the Lhasa–Shigatse railway, opened in 2014. Construction of the railway from Shigatse to Gyirong is expected to be complete by 2022.
China rejects criticism from rights groups and Tibetan exiles of its rule there. In July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would restrict visas for some Chinese officials involved in blocking diplomatic access to Tibet and engaging in “human rights abuses”.