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How a New Rail Line in China will Pose a Security Challenge to India

The Sichuan-Tibet rail link will help China mobilise the 77th Group Army and consolidate its hold on the border defence villages along the Sino-Indian border

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, approved in the recent National People’s Congress’s (NPC) annual session, outlines the Sichuan-Tibet railway line near the China-India border as a key strategic priority.

The 1,629km Sichuan–Tibet high-elevation railway line will connect Chengdu, Sichuan province’s capital, to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The 14th Five-Year plan reportedly highlighted this railway’s central section, from Ya’an in Sichuan to Nyingchi in Tibet, as a key infrastructure project. In November 2020, the Communist Party of China’s general secretary and China’s president, Xi Jinping, said that this railway line’s work is extremely challenging due to the complex geological and climatic conditions and the region’s sensitive environment.


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