By Jayadeva Ranade, The Tribune, Published 5 August 2021
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s July 21-23 visit to Tibet — his third to the region — was important. It was the first visit to Tibet in 30 years by a leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) holding all three top posts.
Its importance was underscored by the high-powered delegation, comprising three Politburo members and General Zhang Youxia, Vice-Chairman of the CMC, accompanying Xi Jinping. Of particular importance is Xi Jinping’s address to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers in Lhasa and his first publicised reference to the military tension on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The visit to Nyingchi, his first stop during the tour, is of significance for India. Official Chinese maps include most of India’s state of Arunachal Pradesh — referred to as southern Tibet by the Chinese —within the administrative boundaries of the Nyingchi Prefecture.
Relevant, therefore, is Xi Jinping’s insistence on the “rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation and recovering territories claimed to have been lost by the imposition of unequal treaties by hostile foreign powers.
Nyingchi has, additionally, emerged as a strategically important military transit station for highways and railways connecting Tibet with the Chinese Mainland. Once completed, the high-speed Chengdu-Lhasa railway will reduce travelling time from the present 30 hours to only 10.
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