Giving strategic interests a further push, the Centre is exploring feasibility to connect Sino-India border district Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with the railway network.
The Centre has asked the Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who is also an MP from the Arunachal West seat, to explore the feasibility of a rail network in the remote area.
The two ministers will tour the state on Saturday (April 1) to study the viability of connecting Tawang with Bhalukpong, which is the last station of the Indian Railways on Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border at a distance of 378 kms, and to commence the final location survey of a new broad gauge line connecting the two cities.
It takes 18 hours from Guwahati, Assam, to reach Tawang by road. Guwahati is the nearest major city and Tawang residents depend on it for all medical emergencies.
Other new broad guage railway lines that will be part of the survey will be the 249-kilometre North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar, which is between Pasighat airport and Rupa in Arunachal Pradesh.
Sinha and Rijiju will also meet citizens, elected representatives and senior railway officers during the visit.
Tawang is of immense strategic importance to India as it is located on the Sino-India border and China has been laying claim to it.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet and routinely objects to any visit by top Indian leaders, officials and diplomats to the area.
It had recently objected to a proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.
But the Indian government has said the Dalai Lama is visiting the state as a religious leader and there is no reason to stop him.
Tawang was one of the regions where the Indian Army had come under attack from China in the 1962 war. Ignoring China’s protests, the government had earlier allowed former US ambassador to India Richard Verma and Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Arunachal Pradesh last year.