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China to restart Tibet-Nepal bus service

February 26, 2010

February 24, 2010

Dharamsala, Feb 24 -- China is all set to resume
suspended bus services between Lhasa, capital of
the Chinese-occupied Tibet, and Kathmandu in Nepal.

If all goes as planned, the suspended bus service
between Kathmandu and Lhasa is likely to resume
within few days, according to a Nepalese media report.

The report said the decision to resume the direct
bus service was taken during a two-day meeting
between officials of the Nepal Tourism Board and
Tibet Tourism Administration few months ago.

Nepal's tourism officials had started work on the
direct bus service in order to insert a new
momentum to the upcoming Nepal Tourism Year 2011, the report said.

The trans-Himalayan bus service, which commenced
on May 1, 2005, was suspended in 2006 after a
political fallout over issuance of visas to Tibet
and due to transportation permit hassles.

In the past, deadlines have been set for
resumption of services but were not met. One such
notable deadline was January 1, 2008, the year
China hosted the Beijing Olympics.

China's February-end deadline fixed for the
resumption of the bus service seems to have
become a cause of concern for New Delhi.

According to a report by The Tribune on Sunday,
Indian intelligence agencies have informed the
government about the early resumption of the Tibet-Nepal bus services.

The matter was also discussed among Indian
security agencies a couple of weeks ago, the report said.

Indian strategists construe resumption of the bus
service by China in two ways - China firstly
wants to tell India that it will not relinquish
its strategic toe-hold in Nepal and continue to
strive for more as both counties fight for more
military ties in the Himalayan kingdom, the report said.

The second, according to the report, is to show
the Lhasa-Kathmandu route as the first legitimate
and regular land approach to Tibet from outside China.

China also aims at bringing in Indian, European
and North American tourists into Tibet from the
Nepal route, according to media reports.

This, the Tribune report said, will mean that
China is eager to show "normalcy" in Tibet.

Nepal this week deputed additional Armed Police
Force (APF) in Mustang, which borders Tibet, to
check escaping Tibetan refugees, and its police
in Dolkha district, some 90 kilometres northeast
of Kathmandu, arrested four Tibetan refugees,
including three women, after they escaped Chinese-occupied Tibet.

More than 30 Tibetans have been arrested in past
six months in Nepal for trying to cross the
border to reach Dharamsala, the seat of the
Tibetan Government-in-Exile in north India, to meet the Dalai Lama.

The additional deployment of armed police comes
two weeks before the sensitive Tibetan National
Uprising Day to be marked on March 10.

Acting under heavy Chinese influence, the
Nepalese government has lately over intensified
its security to prevent Tibetan activists from
taking part in peaceful demonstrations.

Nepal last year announced its decision to tighten
Tibet border by deploying armed police for the
first time in its history along its northern
Mustang-Tibet border, raising criticism that the
move was prompted by pressure from China.
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