Amidst China challenge, India says will push ahead with border infrastructure

File Photo: India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: The current two-month face-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in Ladakh over infrastructure projects notwithstanding, India today said it will push ahead with the strategic border roads, bridges and tunnels that boost the nation’s forward connectivity.

India‘s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh reviewed the progress made on the various infrastructure projects in the border areas, particular those along the Line of Actual Control with China. India’s Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and other senior ministry officials were present in the review, a Ministry of Defence statement said.

“The state of forward connectivity to border areas was reviewed and the consistent need of boosting the ongoing projects and to expedite the construction of strategic roads, bridges and tunnels in the border areas was discussed.”

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), a organisation under the defence ministry that handles all strategically important infrastructure works in border areas as its name suggests, has executed 30 per cent more work in the financial year 2019-20 ending March 2020 as compared to 2018-19.

“The BRO has worked incessantly even during the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 without affecting the progress of various projects,” the statement said. What’s left unsaid is the India-China military engagement in eastern Ladakh happened during the same period in May and June.

India went into a Coronavirus lock down in late March this year and the number positive COVID-19 cases in India has crossed 720,000 as of today.

“Despite unprecedented snowfall, breaking 60-year-old record, all strategic passes and roads were cleared this year for traffic about one month before their average yearly opening dates.

“The Border Roads executed snow clearance works on 149 roads (of 3,965 kilometres) in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This ensured rapid and early movement of troops and logistics to forward areas.”

Rajnath Singh asked BRO to continue its work and contribution to national security, by achieving even greater pace in the infrastructure projects. The Border Roads has also inducted latest equipment and machines and has introduced modern construction methods after successful trials to expedite works on surfacing with cementations base, use of plastics, geotextiles, and various techniques for slope stabilisation.

Trials have also been carried out successfully for indigenously produced modular bridges in collaboration with Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited under Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s ‘Make in India‘ initiative. This will revolutionise the bridge laying capabilities in forward areas.

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