Asia - Pacific, India-China border tension

India steps up road construction near China border

Indian defense minister orders expedite building of strategic roads and bridges at Indo-China border as ‘top priority’

Cheena Kapoor   | 08.07.2020
India steps up road construction near China border

NEW DELHI 

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday ordered the Border Roads Organization (BRO) to complete the strategic border road and bridges projects as “top priority” in a high-level meeting to review the border infrastructure.

“The state of forwarding 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,” confirmed a statement issued by the Defense Ministry.

The meeting was also attended by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, BRO Director Lt. Gen. Harpal Singh, and other senior officials of the Defense Ministry.

The key highlight of the order is the completion of the 255 kilometers (158 miles) road at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a defacto border between India and China, in the northern Himalayan region of Ladakh.

“The 255 kilometers Dabruk-Shyok-Daulat-Beg-Oldi (DSDBO) road is a strategic road along the LAC. The ongoing construction here is almost complete except for the last 45 kilometers [28 mi]. Defense Minister has ordered that this be completed by October,” confirmed a source from the Defense Ministry on the condition of anonymity.

“This ensures rapid and early movement of troops and logistics to forward areas. Trials have also been carried out successfully for indigenously produced modular bridges under the Prime Minister’s Make in India Initiative. This will revolutionize the bridge laying capability in the forward areas,” read the statement.

The meeting was held a day after India-China special representatives spoke over phone to ensure disengagement of troops and peace in the Ladakh region.

China has been objecting to Indian road and infrastructure development at several points along the LAC. A road branching from the DSDBO road towards the Galwan valley is believed to be one of the reasons for their objections here.

“With India joining the ongoing global investigations on China over the coronavirus spread, and the ongoing construction work by the Indian Army towards India side of the border has also added to the incident,” told retired Gen. VP Malik, 19th chief of army staff who headed the army during the Kargil war), in an earlier conversation with Anadolu Agency.

The BRO also inducted the 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, etc. and various techniques for slope stabilization, confirmed the ministry.

On Monday, Chinese troops withdrew from several patrolling points in the Galwan valley area in Ladakh, the site of the June 15 clash between the two armies which killed 20 Indian soldiers, including a colonel.

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