China might soon build its first ever airport in Xinjiang, which is close to the borders of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). India Today reported that China is planning to build the airport on a high plateau in the city of Tashkurgan in Xinjiang’s Uygur Autonomous Region which is said to be the last important place on the Karakoram highway before it enters PoK.
Experts from China’s Civil Aviation Engineering Consulting Company are said to have visited the city last week to finalise a site from three previously shortlisted sites, all of which lie in the Tajik Autonomous County of Taxkorgan, reported Xinhua.
Xinhua further quoted the Xinjiang aviation authority as saying that the proposed airport will be built almost 3,200 metres above sea level.
The new airport is slated to be Xinjiang’s first high plateau airport, a term that is used by the Chinese aviation to refer to airports located at more than 2,438 metres above sea level.
Situated in the east of the Pamirs Plateau, Tajik has an average altitude of about 4,000 metres.
Chinese authorities consider this location strategically important as it will help the country gain access to a remote region.
China also plans to use the airport for the rapid transfer of resources to the remote area, reported India Today.
While China’s plans for constructing the airport has raised concerns in India, the Chinese assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao was quoted by India Today as saying: “The project does not concern the relevant dispute between India and Pakistan. So I do not think the Indian side should be concerned about that.”