Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday instructed officials to expedite the construction of the new $47.8 billion railway project connecting the country’s southwest Sichuan province to Linzhi in Tibet close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh, saying it would play a key role in safeguarding stability in the border areas.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway line into Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project. It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s most geologically active areas, according to the Chinese official media.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province and travels through Ya’an and enters Tibet via Qamdo, shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.
Linzhi, also known as Nyingchi, is located close to Arunachal Pradesh border.
The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet which is firmly rejected by India.