Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that China and Pakistan have been creating border disputes under a mission. While Pakistan’s policy to create unrest in Kashmir is known to the world, China violated the border consensus five months ago in an attempt to change the status quo along the LAC in Ladakh. The armies to two Asian giants are locked in a bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh since then. The two sides have held a series of diplomatic and military talks, but no breakthrough has been achieved.
“You are well aware of the conditions created along our northern and eastern borders. First it was 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 continues,” Rajnath said while speaking at an online event after inaugurating 44 bridges built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) across seven states and UTs.
The 44 bridges are built in strategically key areas of Ladakh (8), Arunachal Pradesh (8), Sikkim (4), Himachal Pradesh (2), Uttarakhand (8), Punjab (4) and Jammu and Kashmir (10). A majority of these bridges are expected to improve the movement of troops in areas along the border with China in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
India is expediting work on several key projects including on a strategic road linking Darcha in Himachal Pradesh with Ladakh that will criss-cross a number of high-altitude snow-bound passes. The nearly 290-km-long road will be crucial for the movement of troops and heavy weaponry into the frontier bases of the Ladakh region and will provide a crucial link to the Kargil region.
Rajnath also laid the foundation stone for Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh. This 450 metre-long tunnel, when becomes operational, will ensure all-weather connectivity across Nechiphu pass.
Lauding the BRO, Rajnath said that inauguration of 44 bridges in one go in itself was a record. He said the annual budget of BRO that varied from Rs 3,300 crore to Rs 4,600 crore in years between 2008 and 2016, saw a substantial rise and is pegged at over Rs 11,000 crore in 2020-21.
He noted that the bridges will benefit both the locals and the military. “These roads are not only for strategic needs, but they also reflect equal participation of all stakeholders in the development of the nation,” the minister said.