New Delhi: India today opened a new bridge over River Sisseri at Lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state bordering China, which claims the territory as its own and has fought a war in 1962 over the dispute. This bridge will boost mainland connectivity – both military and civilian – to Indian areas bordering China and close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, who opened the new bridge, called for bolstering the border infrastructure, saying that national security is the top most priority of the Narendra Modi government.
The 200-metre long bridge between Jonai-Pasighat-Ranaghat-Roing Road will provide connectivity between Dibang Valley and Siang to meet the long-pending demand of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, as it would cut down the travel time from Pasighat to Roing by about five hours.
Rajnath Singh said the government has adopted the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in its plan keeping in view the security of the people residing in the border areas. “Infrastructural upgradation is necessary for the security of the North-East and the entire country,” he added.
The minister said the government has initiated numerous infrastructure projects in the border state of Arunachal Pradesh. He listed out various projects, including the proposed Bhalukpong-Tenga-Tawang railway line, operationalisation of Pasighat airport, nod to Hollongi airport and approval to construct Sela Pass tunnel. He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to establish a strong and efficient roadways, railways, airways, waterways and digital network in the region.
Rajnath Singh said Prime Minister Modi took the decision to stay out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), keeping in mind the economic interests of the country, especially the North-East.
“You must have seen that during the ASEAN summit in Bangkok recently, our PM took a very important decision that India will not be a part of RCEP. Farmers, labourers, factories and industries would have got affected had India joined the RCEP. This is a big decision,” he said.
The government’s focus on the Act East Policy would open new doors of rapid infrastructural development in the North-East, especially Arunachal Pradesh, Rajnath Singh said, expressing the confidence that just as the Sisseri River bridge would help the development of Lower Dibang Valley and East Siang, the strong infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh would also act as bridge between India and South-East Asian countries.
The Sisseri River bridge provides connectivity to Tinsukia via Dhola-Sadia bridge. Constructed by Project Brahmank of Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the bridge is also strategically important from military view point and will be a part of Trans Arunachal Highway.
The minister said the bridge will play an important role in the overall development adding that it would open more avenues in the fields of employment, trade and tourism.
The BRO has four projects in Arunachal Pradesh – Vartak, Arunank, Brahmank and Udayak – which meet the strategic requirement of the nation and also immensely contribute in the socio-economic development of the region.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Director General of Border Roads Lieutenant General Harpal Singh and Arunachal East Member of Parliament Tapir Gao were also present on the occasion.