Now, China flags Tawang rail link

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Says it will complicate border issue

China on Saturday asked India to exercise “restraint” on its plan to link the strategic border district of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with a railway network, saying any “unilateral action” might “complicate” the unresolved border issue.

“We hope that the Indian side can exercise caution, show restraint and refrain from unilateral actions that might further complicate the question so as to create a sound condition for enhancing mutual trust between China and India and promoting proper resolution of the boundary question,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

“China’s position on the eastern section of China — India boundary is consistent and clear. At present, the two sides are working to resolve the territorial dispute through negotiation and consultation,” the Ministry said in a written reply to a query about reports that India was exploring possibilities to link Tawang with a railway network.

The Centre has asked Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who represents the Arunachal West Lok Sabha constituency, to explore the feasibility of a rail network.

Viability study

The two Ministers will tour the State to study the viability of connecting Tawang with Bhalukpong, the last station of the Railways on Assam, and to start the final location survey of a new broad gauge line.

Tawang, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born in 1683, is at the centre of Tibetan Buddhism and a friction point between India and China. China has in recent days upped its rhetoric on claims to Arunachal Pradesh, which it says is Southern Tibet, and even warned India of “serious damage” to ties if New Delhi allows the Dalai Lama to visit the State next week.

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