“China’s night train to Arunachal” (October 31) by Govindraj Ethiraj was interesting but speculative. I have travelled by the famous skytrain from Chengdu to Lhasa and then to Gyantse (known for the Younghusband mission and nearest to the Indian border) and Shingatse by road. The launch of a 253-km line from Lhasa to Xigaze will take the Chinese military to the Sikkim border, which is more threatening than anything else. So the author’s assertion that there is an ulterior motive behind this infrastructural expansion is correct.
India must also not ignore the recently opened Ngari airport, which is located 14,300 feet above sea level and is one of the world’s highest airports. The airport, which cost $1.5 billion, is just 100 km from Pangong Lake on the Ladakh border and not too far from the Karakoram pass in Pakistan-occupied J&K. With such a modern airport, China is in a position to airlift tens of thousands of military forces from Chengdu on a daily basis.
Sadly, India’s positions in 2010 are as rudimentary as they was before the Indo-China war in the 1960s.
Lalit Lakhotia, on email