Beiijing has opened
a strategically-located highway in Tibet that will link the region to the Nepal
border. The highway could be used for both civilian and military purposes,
Chinese state media reports said.
The move comes just
weeks after a military disengagement with India. The move will enable China to
make forays into South Asia and provide economic and military benefits to the
landlocked Nepal. With the opening of the high way, Kathmandu need not depend
on India alone for its supplies.
highway in Tibet between Xigaze airport and Xigaze city centre officially
opened to the public on last week, the state owned Global Times report said. The
road project is expected to be linked to the China-Nepal railway in the future,
features a short section linking the Chinese highway to the Nepal border.
extension of the road and railway connectivity to South Asia is through India,
Bhutan and Bangladesh. Chinese officials have said in the past that the
projects are feasible and could become a trade corridor for India and China if
New Delhi comes on board.
The new road runs
parallel to the Xigaze-Lhasa railway and links the Tibetan city's roads with
the 5,476-kilometre highway from Shanghai to Zhangmu on the Nepal border, the
The report added:
"The China-Nepal railway was part of a deal struck by Nepal Deputy Prime Minister
Krishna Bahadur Mahara when he visited China in early September. The railway
includes two lines, one connecting three of Nepal's most important cities and
two crossing the border between China and Nepal."
railway, which passes through the Chinese border town of Zhangmu and connects
with routes in Nepal, will be the first railway by which China enters South
The report quoted
Tibet Financial Daily to reveal that the 25-meter-wide highway between Xigaze
airport and Xigaze would have four double lanes and be classified as a
first-tier highway. "Highways in China are of a high standard including
the one in Tibet. They can be used by armored vehicles and as a runway for
planes to take off when it has to serve a military purpose," he said.
As an important
traffic program in the Chinese 13th Five-Year Plan and a core section of the
Tibet Autonomous Region's highway network, the road will benefit the
export-oriented economy of Xigaze and the complex traffic around Lhasa, as per
China has been
stepping efforts to improve road connectivity between Tibet and Nepal while
speeding up plans to build a railway line connecting to Nepal's border after KP
Sharma Oli — former Nepalese prime
minister — signed a Transit Trade Treaty with Beijing last year during his
Oli signed the
treaty at the height of the Madhesi agitation and their blockade of Indian
goods to provide a major opening for China to reduce the dependence of the
landlocked country on India, even as the transportation of essentials through
the Himalayan terrain of Tibet would entail heavy costs for Nepal.
However, since the
fall of Oli government, China's plans to speed up its efforts to make forays
into Nepal through infrastructure expansion slowed down even though Kathmandu
signed up for Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative in May 2017.