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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Now, Chinese rail link right up to Arunachal

October 17, 2010

Sachin Parashar, TNN
The Times of India
October 14, 2010

NEW DELHI -- China recently started work on
extending its rail link in Lhasa to its border
with Nepal, but for India it might just be a red herring.

In a development, which has alarmed officials and
strategic community here, Beijing is
simultaneously working on bringing its rail link
right upto Nyangtri -- located on the border with
Arunachal Pradesh and an area that China claims as its own.

Nyangtri is also the site where the Brahmaputra
is proposed to be diverted northwards by the
Chinese. The Chinese claim that the Nyangtri or
Nyingchi prefecture includes some parts of
Arunachal Pradesh. China proposes to build the
largest dam in the world at this spot.

While the line to Xigaze near Tibet's border with
Nepal will extend south-west from Lhasa, the line
to Nyangtri will extend towards Arunachal in the
south-east. China proposes to build as many as
six big dams in the region on the Brahmaputra in
addition to a dozen or so it has already constructed.

"There is no real evidence till now that
Brahmaputra waters have been diverted northwards
by China, but the massive infrastructure build up
at Nyangtri, including this rail link which they
are working on, near the Great Bend doesn't
inspire confidence," said an Indian government official.

The Great Bend is the place, where the
Brahmaputra takes a decisive turn and flows towards India.

Strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney
describes the rail link to Nyangtri as a
significant new development. "The building of the
railway to this area is significant because of
two reasons: China has unveiled plans to
construct there the world's largest dam which
will be more than twice bigger than Three Gorges
Dam, now the world's largest dam, and also
because it will strengthen China's rapid military
deployment capability in the eastern (Arunachal)
sector," said Chellaney, adding that China is in
a position to rapidly move forces and strike at India whenever it wants to.

China's focus on expanding its railway south of
Lhasa is alarming also because of reports that
for the first time earlier this year "combat
readiness material" meant for the PLA air force
was transported to the region through the Tibet
rail link. The PLA Daily recently reported that
China conducted its first major parachute
exercise in Tibet to demonstrate its capability
to rapidly send troops on the world's highest plateau.
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