by Ms. S. Swathi Meenakshi*
He who holds Tibet dominates the Himalayan piedmont; he who dominates the Himalayan piedmont threatens the Indian subcontinent and he who threatens the Indian subcontinent may well have all of South Asia within his reach, and with it all of Asia.
~ George Ginsburgs and Michael Mathos[i]
Relations between India and China have traditionally been tenuous. Earlier, the mountainous terrain of the Himalayan ranges, Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal acted as buffer areas to ease tension between the two Asian giants. But, recent infrastructure developments along the border raise questions of concern. China’s build up holds important security implications for India and adds heat to age old territorial claims. Given this background, of particular significance is the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line. This railroad symbolizes China’s sovereignty over Tibet while establishing its technological prowess in building the highest railroad in the world[ii]. The railroad will gain ever more strategic significance as it connects hitherto inaccessible parts of the Tibetan plateau with the ‘Chinese motherland’. This paper tries to examine the geopolitical[iii] implications of such developments.