China set to build new highway near disputed border

As part of Beijing’s efforts to bolster its strategic position and project its might, China aims to construct a new roadway close to its contentious border areas with India. However, the move is likely to raise concerns from its neighbour to the south.

The new national programme aims to build a total of 461,000km (286,400 miles) of highway and motorway by 2035 as China seeks to revive its faltering economy and increase consumer spending through infrastructure investment. The highway, which connects Lhunze county in Tibet to Mazha in Xinjiang, is one of 345 construction plans proposed in the programme.

According to the plan unveiled last week, the G695 highway is anticipated to pass through the southern Tibetan counties of Cona, which is located directly north of the disputed India-Tibet border marked by the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Kamba, which is home to a notable military camp, and Gyirong, which is close to the Nepalese border.

Along with Zanda county in Ngari prefecture, which is partially controlled by India, it will also pass via Burang county, which is shared by Tibet, Nepal, and India. Although specifics of the future construction are yet unknown, the highway may eventually pass via contentious locations including the Depsang Plains, Galwan Valley, and Hot Springs on the LAC.

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