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China plans controversial railway to India, Nepal, Bhutan by 2020

source:JCTRANS.NET author: time:2014-08-11  

China plans to extend a railway through to India, Nepal and Bhutan by 2020 once an extension to Shigatse opens, according to the state-run Global Times of Beijing, according to Shipping Gazette.

China opened the railway to Tibet??s capital Lhasa in 2006, which will first be extended to Shigatse, the seat of Tibetan Buddhism's second-highest figure, the Panchen Lama, before linking up to India, Nepal and Bhutan.

That opening is scheduled for the 2016-2020 period to link to two separate points, one on the border of Nepal and to India and Bhutan, said Yang Yulin, deputy head of Tibetan railways.

The Chinese announcement coincides with a drive by India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consolidate its influence with its smaller neighbours, reported Reuters.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Nepalese visit has proposals to develop the Himalayan hydro-electric projects. But Nepalese opposition Maoists say the plan could benefit India at China's expense.

India and China fought a war in 1962 over at the eastern end of the Himalayas. But the nuclear neighbours signed an October pact to ensure differences do not boil up into a confrontation.

India and China have competing claims over what India calls Arunachal Pradesh, which has been administered by India for decades and what China calls South Tibet.

China??s Communist army occupied Tibet in 1950. Nine years later, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising.

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