In a big move, India on Tuesday inaugurated 44 new bridges, including over a dozen new ones in strategically important regions of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Embroiled in the months-long stand-off with China, the Centre has been reinforcing infrastructure in border areas through extensive road and bridge-building over the past few months. As the Communist nation aligns 60,000 soldiers along the LAC border, sources have revealed that the Indian side is preparing for a long haul through winter.
Inaugurating the bridges at an online event, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "You are well aware of the situation created along our northern and eastern borders. First Pakistan, and now also by China, as if a border dispute is being created under a mission. We have a border of about 7,000 km with these countries, where the tension remains."
"Our armed forces personnel are deployed in large numbers in areas where transport is not available throughout the year," he said. Officials have stated that the 7 strategic new bridges in Ladakh built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would considerably help the armed forces in the quick movement of troops.
The 43 bridges made by BRO include 10 in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh each, seven in Ladakh, four in Punjab, four in Sikkim, near the strategic Doklam Plateau and two in Himachal Pradesh. The Defence Minister also laid the foundation stone for the Nechiphu tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh symbolically on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, news agency ANI had reported that the Army is looking to complete the work on the 255 Km-long strategic Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road including eight bridges and its blacktopping at some of the stretches by the end of this year. The bridge connecting the Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan area with the territory across the Shyok river is also linked to the strategic road.
The seventh round of Senior Commanders meeting of India and China brought no major breakthrough in the border situation. The meeting was held on October 12 in Chushul on the Indian side of LAC and continued for more than 11 hours. It was the last round of meetings led by Lt. Gen Harinder Singh GOC 14 corps who handed over the command to Lt Gen PVK Menon the very next day of the meeting.