Friday, August 11, 2006

Tibet Will Become China's Military Zone: HHDL's Kin

Reported by the Times of India

By Saibal Dasgupta

11 Aug, 2006; BEIJING -- Chinese officials in Tibet speculate that the Tibet railway link may be later stretched to an area close to Nathu La Pass, which was opened on July 6 for border trade after a gap of 44 years.

The opening of the border was seen in New Delhi as an acknowledgement by Beijing of the fact that Sikkim was part of India.

Another reason of concern for India could be the fact that China has often indicated that the Nepalese government has been requesting a direct rail link between Nepal and China for a long time.

The move to connect the rail to Xigaze is also being seen as an attempt to build up the image of Panchen Lama, even as the country asks the world to look beyond the Dalai Lama. Xigaze is his traditional seat, even though the government-appointed Panchen Lama lives mostly in Beijing.

Critics including Khedroob Thondup, nephew of Dalai Lama and member of the Tibetan parliament in exile, have said the railway project has serious military significance.

"Strategically, Tibet will become one of China's biggest military zones, primarily to combat India's influence," he was quoted as saying.