(TibetanReview.net, Nov04’19) – China said Nov 3 that it had achieved a big step to strengthen connections between it through Tibet and South Asia with the completion of the construction of the Bayu Tunnel from Lhasa to the Nyingchi railway section of the strategic Sichuan-Tibet Railway. The report said the railway project when completed will not only promote the economic development of the border area with India and Nepal but also enhance the security of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by logistics from Sichuan.
Citing the party mouthpiece People’s Daily, the official globaltimes.cn reported Nov 3 that the construction of the 13,073-metre Bayu Tunnel, which faced a lot of difficulties given its complex geographical conditions, was successfully completed on Nov 3.
The report noted that in June, China had announced it would start work on the 1,700-kilometre Sichuan-Tibet Railway, a project anticipated to take seven years and cost 216.6 billion yuan ($30.78 billion).
It added that the Lhasa to Nyingchi section was the second phase of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, and the second strategic railway network in the TAR. It said this section will be completed in 2021.
The report said the new railway will also be connected to Yadong Port and Nielamu Port in the TAR, China’s two important land gates to India and Nepal, respectively.
The report cited an expert as saying the Sichuan-Tibet Railway will boost Tibet’s economic development in areas such as tourism and border trade, as well as China’s connectivity with South Asia — and even the security of the region.
“It will promote the economic development of the border area with India and Nepal, because, in market size and the amount of products, Tibet is relatively low. Once it is connected to Sichuan, which ranked No.6 in GDP among China’s provincial-level regions in 2018, it will have huge potential,” Tian Yun, director of the China Society of Macroeconomics Research Centre, was quoted as saying.
Besides the impact on economic development, Tian has noted that Tibet’s security could also be strengthened. He has noted that in the past, due to the harsh geographical environment, it was extremely difficult to provide logistics services in the region.
“When the railway is completed, it will be easier to ensure the security of the TAR by logistics from Sichuan,” Tian has added.