The ongoing 2020-21 IndiaChina border skirmishes have been an eyeopener of everyone. The rapid and widespread mobilisation of Indian and Chinese forces at multiple standoff points on the banks of Pangong Tso Lake (Finger-5, 6, 7 and 8), Galwan Valley (Patrolling Point-14) and Hot Springs Sector (Patrolling Points-15 & 17A) have proved the efficacy of having good quality road-infrastructure in those areas. Had it not been the world-class all-weather infrastructure near the LAC (Line of Actual Control) boosting the Indian military's capability of mobilising assets and manpower for countering the hostile build-up, the Chinese would have possibly launched ground incursions deep inside Eastern Ladakh using the strategy earlier implemented in 1962.
Thus, a dense mesh of all-weather metalled roads, railway tracks, bridges and advanced landing grounds (ALGs) near the disputed boundary will prove to be a boon for the Indian military in challenging the enemy's adventurist motives in those areas. These new generation infrastructures will significantly enhance the Indian forces' reach towards frontline positions on the LAC, thus giving the nation a massive strategic leverage over an expansionist neighbour.
Slew of infrastructure projects are either on the verge of completion or are undergoing the process of execution, while many are still in the planning and conceptualisation stage. Following is a peek into the wide gamut of road, rail and airfield infrastructure which are coming up near the Sino-Indian border.
India-China Border Roads (ICBR)
The ICBR is a union government-led project which aims at constructing strategic roads along the LAC. A major part of execution of the project is handled by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). BRO has workforce of around 32,000 workers, of which 67 percent are assigned to ICBR roads. Starting in 1999, out of 73 ICBRs, less than 50 percent had been completed by the BRO by 2018. However, since 2018, with additional funds sanctioned, the speed of construction has increased exponentially. Spending on LAC roads has tripled between 2016 and 2020, from $640 million to $1.7 billion. Some of the projects include the Darbuk-ShyokDaulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road and Rohtang Tunnel in the Ladakh; the Sela Tunnel in northeast and a tunnel under the Brahmaputra River with Indian Railways as a partner.
In the wake of heightened road and railway track construction activity undertaken by China along India's Northern & Eastern frontiers, India had constituted a China Study Group (CSG) in 1997, to study the requirement of road communication, along the China border for brisk movement of troops in case of aggression. At the end of the study, the CSG identified network of 73 ICBRs, to be developed along the IndoChina border. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 1999 approved the construction of these roads by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under the Ministry of Defence. The project was to be completed by 2006 but the deadline was then extended to 2012.
The Standing Committee on Defence, a body for legislative oversight, appraised strategic road connectivity in 2018. With regard to the slow pace of construction of border roads, the BRO made a statement to the committee which reads- It would not be incorrect to say that few years back the philosophy of our nation was that we should not make roads as near to the border as possible. That philosophy is telling today very clearly as to why we do not have roads. It is only couple of years back that we suddenly decided a change of philosophy and said no, we must go as far forward as possible. It is going to take time. Unfortunately, the time cannot be compressed. Whatever we can do, it will take time.
Ministry of Defence submitted a total operational requirement of 852 roads (30,118 km in length) to the BRO. Out of this, border roads have been classified under the Long-Term Roll-on Works Plan (LTROWP), i.e., 530 roads spanning 22,803 km including 73 ICBRs. The work structure for the ICBRs is divided among different agencies. Out of the 73 ICBRs, BRO was responsible for 61 roads while the remaining were assigned to other departments such as the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) and state public works departments. ICBRs are present in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal has the most proposed ICBRs numbering 27.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
UDA Framework For Sustainable Blue Economy
The pooling of resources and synergising of efforts, enumerated as the core value of the UDA framework, can effectively manage the challenges and opportunities of the tropical littoral waters of the Indo-Pacific region, explains ARNAB DAS
The Return To 'Purana Pakistan'
Pakistan has now a new government. But, will Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif be able to meet the challenges that the country faces? D Suba Chandran is not so sure in his answers
How Prepared Is India For A Cyberwar?
In order to retain a competitive national security advantage, there has to be coordinated endeavour of the government and the private sector to work on cyber security and Al (artificial intelligence) technologies, argues VAISHALI BASU SHARMA
SAPPERS FINALLY ARRIVE
UTKARSH SINGH RATHORE dispels the scepticism about the new Army Chief of India that he is not suitable for the job because of his background as an officer from the Corps of Engineers
INDIGENOUS COMBAT JETS: THE FUTURE UNFOLDS
India is poised to build a robust defence industrial base for manufacturing cutting-edge aerial combat platforms and turbofan engines in the country. The time to act is now, argues AMARTYA SINHA
CHINA'S BRI DEBT TRAP: SRI LANKAN ECONOMY IN COLLAPSE
How the collapse of Sri Lankan economy is turning into a political crisis? What is it that has led to the current collapse of Sri Lankan economy? In what way is China's Belt & Road Debt Trap (BRDT) connected with it? What are the possible solutions to the economic crisis that resulted in political crisis? In what way, if any, could India be of help to Sri Lanka, if only to overcome the current multiple crises? VIJAY KUMAR KAUL answers
DEFENCE INDUSTRIAL CORRIDORS DESERVE HONEST APPRAISAL
AMIT COWSHISH explains how after more than four years of the government decision, the impact of the DICs on defence production remains hazy
BOOSTING MARITIME SECURITY
India needs to think of how to integrate the armed services in a national maritime policy and to work with friendly neighbours in a broader IOR context
Decoding Russia's Digital Offensive
When Russia invaded Ukraine more than a month ago, it was feared that there would be massive cyber-attacks on Ukraine and its supporters, including the NATO powers led by the United States. But such is the situation today that it is Russia that is complaining of being the target of cyber offensives.
AN ATMANIRBHAR CARBINE: MSMC (JVPC) IS READY FOR INDUCTION INTO THE INDIAN ARMY
In a major leap forward in the domain of infantry modernisation, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has declared that a carbine, jointly developed by its Pune-based facility and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), has completed its final phase of user trials by the Indian Army and is ready for induction.
A FLOWER GROWING IN CONCRETE
CREATING ART HAS HELPED JOSE LÓPEZ NAVIGATE THROUGH THE DARKEST PERIODS OF HIS LIFE
Alsatian Spring Picnic
Four make-ahead dishes from chef Gabriel Kreuther
TURNS OUT, COCKY D.C. special agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and badass Hawai'i boss Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey) have an explosive past that goes back to their pre-NCIS days.
417 Minutes With… Lacey Leone Mclaughlin
The anti-cancellation consultant hand-holding anxious Hollywood execs afraid of their young assistants.
NO SYMPATHY FOR DEVIL SCOTT
Peterson’s sister & old lover vow to testify against Laci’s evil killer.
A Different Probiotic
You know all about the benefits of L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, but don’t miss out on Saccharomyces Boulardii, the lesser-known beneficial gut bug.
SCOTT PETERSON: I DIDN'T KILL LACI
Intends to name wife’s REAL killers at new trial to overturn conviction
The 'Unbundling' of NYFW, Over 300 Fashion Nova Workers in L.A. Have Gotten Covid-19
As IMG rolls out its official schedule for New York Fashion Week, Chantal Fernandez breaks down the changes in its calendar, as well as the CFDA s, and in the ways designers present new collections more broadly, in Business of Fashion.
5 Reasons to Go Dairy-Free
Most of us grew up with the idea that milk and other dairy products were key to strong bones, sturdy muscles, and robust health. But as we learn about the health risks associated with dairy, more people are ditching it. If you’re one of them, here’s what you need to know about a dairy-free diet.
RACHAEL SPROT ON STORM TRYSAILS