border review | 11 August 2011

Strategic rail links, ambitious plans, and a broken promise

Last week, Delhi announced massive plans for three new railway lines in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, clearly as a response the extension of the Lhasa railway to Nyingtri and thereby unconfortably close to the disputed border between China and India. One of the new Arunachal railway lines will link Tawang (elevation 3,500 m) to the plains of Assam.

Yesterday, Syed Zarir Hussain reported that the Indian railway plans meet with mixed responses in Arunachal Pradesh:

promises have often been made to be broken - a Rs.125 billion Trans-Arunachal Highway announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 and expected to be completed by 2013 was shelved before it took off without any reasons cited.

“What we need are projects by New Delhi that could uplift the economic condition of the locals rather than trying to set up infrastructure purely for strategic reasons,” said Bamang Felix, a local civil rights campaigner.