Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday complimented the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for its "unwavering commitment" towards delivering outstanding quality infrastructure in record time and "optimal costs."
He made these comments while inaugurating a 19.85-kilometre alternate road alignment on the National Highway-310 in Sikkim, which serves as an important link to bolster defence preparedness in the Nathu La Sector.
The alternate road alignment is among several crucial projects that have been recently completed or are being carried out by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), as part of the Centre's bid to ramp up infrastructure in the North East.
BRO's projects in North East
Just two weeks before the inauguration of the project in the Nathu La sector, Rajnath inaugurated as many as 44 bridges built in border areas " many of them in the North East.
Eight of these bridges were in Arunachal Pradesh " Yasong and Sarti in Anjaw district, Karteso Kong and Kangdang Sila in Shi-Yomi, Tanchen Panga in West Siang, Ungu in Upper Subansiri, Siang in Siang and Sigit in Upper Siang district.
The defence minister also symbolically laid the foundation stone of the Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh at the virtual event.
The Nechiphu Tunnel is a D-shaped tunnel which will bypass a portion of the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road in West Kameng district, which because it remains foggy throughout the year, causes accidents.
According to an article in The New Indian Express, the Border Roads Organisation is undertaking four projects in Arunachal Pradesh " Vartak, Arunank, Brahmank and Udayak " in order to maintain road infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The strategically important Se La Tunnel " which will give all-weather access to Tawang " is a part of Project Vartak.
Another important infrastructure project that has been completed in Arunachal Pradesh recently was a bridge over the Daporijo River in Arunchal Pradesh. According to a defence ministry statement, the bridge is a "strategic link towards the LAC between India and China. All supplies, rations, constructional material and medicines pass over this bridge."
In March, the BRO opened for traffic a 360 feet long bailey suspension bridge over Teesta River in Munshithang near Chungthang town. According to an official press release, the bridge "will give impetus to tourism and facilitate the movement of logistics for the Armed Forces deployed in forward areas."
The big picture
In conflict situations, the importance of adequate border infrastructure has often been apparent. For example, during the Kargil War, the Srinagar-Leh highway was targeted by Pakistani troops, as this connects the two regions, and then goes further to Siachen.
Data indicates that the pace of the Border Roads Organisation's work has picked up in recent years. According to an article in Observer Research Foundation, since 2017-18, the BRO's activities have witnessed a surge of 44 percent in formation cutting, 55 percent in permanent works, 17 percent in major bridges, 15 percent in surfacing and 49 percent in resurfacing works.
However, the article noted that at several places, the border infrastructure needs to be significantly ramped up. For example, along the Bangladesh border, several rivulets need to be covered by means of bridges, while along the Myanmar border, a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) is said to be in the planning stage.
While there has been much progress in border infrastructure in the North East, completing these projects will help fill many significant gaps.
With inputs from PTI