Topics: Silk Road, Central Asia, Tourism Pages: 74 (22824 words) Published: February 27, 2013
The Silk Road from China to India

Over many centuries two vast regions of Asian continent – China and India have been seeking after mutually beneficial trade relations. The great mountainous system of Hindukush, which latitudinally stretches from India for almost 800 kilometres, the Tibetan Upland in south-western part of China, which is surrounded by the mountain systems of the Himalayas and the Karakorum, upland plains and the Tien-Shan mountains in the western and north-western parts of the country, all these impeded the realization of the dream to construct convenient and short cut transport communications. Only trade caravans, keeping the beaten, by-pass tracks of the Great Silk Road, negotiated wearisome deserts and steppes.

At present the problem of constructing reliable transport thoroughfares between the two great countries still remains topical. As world economy develops, especially with regard to high rate of economic growth in the countries of South-East Asia, the necessity of revival of ancient overland trade routes on an up-to-date level becomes more and more obvious. By now, there have been built three new highways from China to India.

The first of them - the Karakorum Highway (KKH), built by China in the '60s-80s of the 20th century, joins the country's transport network in the north. The road construction was carried out through an extremely difficult location: narrow mountain corridors and snow-covered mountain passes. The most arduous section was located at the height of 4890 metres above sea level. Twenty-five thousand engineers and workers participated in the realization of the project. China invested more than 3 billion US dollars into the construction of the highway. Intended for all-weather transport operations, this highway is however closed during winter months, due to snow slides on the mountain passes. This world's highest paved international road connected Western China with the capital of Pakistan – city of Islamabad, as well as with the largest Pakistani port on the Indian Ocean coast – city of Karachi.

The second route goes through the trading border post Nathu La, which was jointly opened by India and China in the Himalayas at the height of almost 5,000 metres above sea level. The pass is located on the Indo-China border connecting the Indian State of Sikkim with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. International analysts expect the volume of trade operations carried out through the Nathu La pass to reach 12 billion US dollars. The creation of a railway road between Calcutta and Lhasa will also contribute to this. In China there was put into operation the railway road which connected the Tibet capital Lhasa with the railway network of the country.

And finally, a rather promising transport corridor from China to India is the route across Central Asia, which from ancient time was one of the main branches of the Great Silk Road. The most important section of this transport corridor is the highway Termez-Delhi, which is also called "the highway of the future". Besides China and India, many other countries of South-East Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, countries of Central Asia and of Northern Europe, as well as Baltic countries, are greatly interested in this transport corridor. The route runs from the utmost southern city of Uzbekistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian capital. The importance of this route as the shortest transport artery will be constantly increasing. Taking into consideration the prospective transit cargo flow to be transported through the territory of Uzbekistan after the commissioning of the transport corridor, Uzbekistan launched certain preparatory activities. Thus there was prepared the feasibility report on construction of Termez – Samarkand highway. Moreover, Uzbekistan and India intend to work out joint projects on developing the infrastructure of the countries. At the...
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