India China Clash: Regarding India’s border with China, the country’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar made an important statement on Wednesday (February 8). He said that amid the 33-month-old border standoff in eastern Ladakh, India has clearly focused on rapid development of infrastructure along its northern borders with China for “strategic reasons”. Jaishankar told a group of reporters that work on the 135-km strategically important Chushul-Dungti-Phukche-Demchok road in the Ladakh region began last month.
‘Passes opened for deployment of troops’
External Affairs Minister Jaishankar informed that 16 major passes required to maintain the deployment of troops along the border with China have been opened in record time and much earlier than in previous years. In fact, some mountain passes along the border areas in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh are closed due to heavy snowfall in the harsh winter months.
Explaining the government’s priorities, Jaishankar said that from 2014 to 2022, 6,806 km of roads were built along China’s borders, which is almost double the 3,610 km built between 2008 and 2014. With regard to the construction of bridges on the border with China, he said that the total length of the bridges constructed from 2008 to 2014 was 7,270 meters, while it increased to 22,439 meters between 2014 and 2022. Jaishankar said, “We have clearly focused on the rapid development of infrastructure along the northern borders with China for “strategic reasons”.
‘Emphasis will be on new technologies for building infrastructure’
The External Affairs Minister said that with the construction of the Sela tunnel on the Balipara-Chardwar-Tawang road at an altitude of 13,700 feet, the Indian Army will have all-weather connectivity to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Tawang. It has two tunnels – one 1,790 meters long, the other 475 meters long. The construction of the tunnel is expected to be completed by August.
Once completed, it will be the longest two-lane tunnel in the world at an altitude of over 13,000 feet. The External Affairs Minister also talked about adopting new technologies for building infrastructure in high altitude and difficult border areas. Jaishankar also highlighted various connectivity projects with neighboring countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
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