Monday, September 25

India not behind China in LAC infra devp: BRO Chief


LEH: Asserting that India was matching up its infrastructure to China’s projects at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and elsewhere, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) chief Lieutenant General Rajiv Chaudhry said that the countrymen have no reason to worry, amidst the tensions along the Indo-Sino border.

“We are competing much better than what you think China is making. So, there is no need of any concern or overly concern that we are somewhere behind,” Lt Gen Chaudhry said in Pahalgam, where he was present to review works on the routes of the annual Amarnath Yatra to the cave shrine, located at a height of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas, slated to begin on July 1 and end on August 31.

“We are matching up to the capabilities of infrastructure development on the borders. There is no need for concern,” Lt Gen Chaudhry said.

Lt Gen Chaudhry said in the last two years, 205 projects have been completed on the LAC. These were dedicated to the nation by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and this year, “we are attempting to complete 176 projects worth Rs 6,200 crore”, he said.

“The Centre has increased our budget this year by about 100 per cent. The government has a lot of faith in us, and we build roads for five ministries. Our budget is increased every year. This year, our target is to work on the projects worth Rs 16,000 crore, including roads, bridges and tunnels and airfields,” he said.

Asked about strategically important projects in Ladakh, the BRO’s top officer said the Chusul-Dungti-Fukche-Demchok highway is a very important road. In the next two months, work will start on the Nyoma airfield, which is one of the highest airfields in the world, he said.

These are two very important projects in Ladakh, Lt Gen Chaudhry said.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over-three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks. The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

BRO chief’s remarks have come a day after Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said that the IAF was fully aware of the developments that are taking place across the northern borders and asserted that since the Galwan Valley crisis in 2020, the force is continuously upgrading its capabilities and changing tactics to be able to handle any threat.

“We are always on 24×7 readiness to take on any challenge. We are fully aware of the developments that are taking place across our northern borders. We keep a regular surveillance over what is happening there and our acquisition and deployment philosophy is always based to counter such kind of threats that are likely to emerge from there,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari had said in response to a question on threat from China since the Galwan clash.

He said that after the Galwan crisis, the primary aim was to “enhance our surveillance in that area, to actually see what is happening across the border”.

“So, we had to deploy a large number of radar of all sizes in that area. We had to bolster it by deploying surface-to-air guided weapons. We had to redeploy our fighter aircraft,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Chaudhry said the government has already announced 662 “Vibrant Village” packages for areas near the border.

“Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself went to Kibithoo village in Arunachal Pradesh which is the eastern most post and what we call the first village of Arunachal Pradesh. Of the total, 441 villages are in Arunachal Pradesh itself. So, on the northern borders, the government is paying a lot of attention and development is taking place in a very accelerated manner,” the BRO’s director general said.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Lt Gen Chaudhry said the work on tunnels has been almost completed. He also said on the Ladakh-HP border, once the Shinku La tunnel is completed, it will be the world’s highest.

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