China rushing new Beijing-Lhasa expressway for security reasons?

Beijing-Lhasa expressway. (Photo courtesy:The Economist)

(, Dec26, 2018) – A new expressway China is building between its capital Beijing and Tibet’s capital Lhasa has grave security implication for India, reported Dec 21. The report noted that in the 18 months since the Doklam stand-off with India, China had started or accelerated various road and rail projects in Tibet, especially near the Indian border while the building of the new expressway was stated to be going on at a surprisingly very fast pace.

The report cited latest satellite images from Dec 18 as indicating that the 3,725 km-long G-6 — also known as the Beijing-Tibet expressway or the Beijing-Lhasa high-speed expressway — was undergoing construction at a fast pace.

The road’s new stretch of 1,897 km from Xining to Lhasa was stated to include a 546-km section beyond the Tanggula (Tibetan: Dhangla) pass in Tibet. It was estimated to have been planned in early 2018, with the construction begun in mid-February.

The width of the graded, raised portion of the road under construction was seen to vary from 30 to 45m, indicating that this expressway would probably be a six-lane road.

All the tunnels being constructed on the Tibet Autonomous Region side were stated to be twin tunnels — each almost 15-20m wide.

The new Xining-Lhasa section of this project is seen as having as enormous strategic implications for China, and obviously, even for the Indian Army. The report noted that with it PLA logistics department convoys would be comfortably able to cover the distance of 3,725 km from Beijing to Lhasa in four days or less during emergencies. It said the expressway would ensure a very smooth flow of convoy traffic, without any bottlenecks or any additional burden on manpower.

The report said the speed of construction of this high-speed expressway was surprisingly very fast. “The pace indicates the urgency with which the Chinese PLA requires its completion.” it added.


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