DHARAMSALA, 7 March: India is said to be making ground with the Indian Railways inching closer to the Sikkim-Tibet border amid tensions with China.
“With the speeding up of work on the 44.98-km Sivok-Rangpo Railway Line, Indian Railways is inching closer to the Sikkim-Tibet border,” reports Swarajyamag.com.
Railway officials have said that the Sivok-Rangpo rail link project is of “strategic importance” and that “the railway is working on mission mode to bring the station on the national rail map.”
“It will help pave the way towards Gangtok and thereafter to the Indo-China border to support the defence urgency,” The New India Express said citing the officials inspecting the proposed Rail Link between Sivok-Rangpo on Sunday.
The report further said that the railway under the PM’s much-vaunted ‘Look East’ will also play a very supporting strategic role in defence in mobilising troops and maintaining supply chains during the emergency along the country’s border sharing with China-occupied Tibet and other areas.
According to railway officials, the 44.98 long km Rail Link between Sivok-Rangpo is being constructed at the cost of Rs 2500 crore.
It was reported that India’s then railway minister Mamata Banerjee had laid the foundation stone for this project in 2009 with a tentative target of completion by 2015. However, the Indian railway now hopes to complete the project by December 2023.
The development came after China’s plan to connect all 55 counties and districts in China’s so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in occupied Tibet.
Last month, the Hindu reported citing a new railway plan released by the Chinese authorities that “China will soon begin construction on an ambitious new railway line connecting Xinjiang and Tibet that will run close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and through the disputed Aksai Chin region.”
It was reported that the first section, from Shigatse to Pakhuktso in Tibet, will be completed by 2025, with the rest of the line, up to Hotan in East Turkistan, expected to be finished by 2035.