(TibetanReview.net, Sep13’23) – Continuing its ongoing effort to reduce the huge infrastructure differential with China across occupied Tibet amid continuing border tensions, India has on Sep 13 inaugurated 90 projects to enhance its preparedness for any future conflict.
Launched by India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh, the projects include the crucial Nechiphu tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, two revamped airfields in West Bengal, two helipads, 22 roads and 63 bridges, reported the timesofindia.com Sep 13.
The foundation stone for the upgrade of the critical Nyoma advance landing ground (ALG) barely 50 km from the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, which will ensure it can also handle fighter jet operations, was also “virtually” laid by Singh, at the ceremony to inaugurate the 423-metre Devak bridge built by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) in Jammu, the report said.
The Rs 230 crore upgrade work at the Nyoma ALG located at an altitude of over 13,400-feet — which includes extending and strengthening the existing airstrip into a 2.7-km “rigid pavement” runway for all kinds of fixed-wing aircraft for “defensive as well as offensive operations” — will be completed around mid-2025, the report said.
“Nyoma will be developed as a staging ground for troops deployed at forward posts in Ladakh. It will be one of the highest airfields in the world, which will be a game-changer for our forces,” Singh has said.
The report noted that the thrust on border infrastructure development was taking place amid the continuing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, which is into its fourth year now, as also heightened tensions all along the 3,488-km long LAC.
The 90 new infrastructure projects, built by BRO at a cost of Rs 2,941 crore, were stated to be spread across 11 states and Union Territories, including 36 in Arunachal, 26 in Ladakh and 11 in J&K. They follow the completion of 103 projects worth around Rs 2,900 crore in 2022, and 102 projects for over Rs 2,200 crore in 2021, the report said.
However, there is still a long way to go. China has assiduously strengthened its military positions all along the frontier in terms of bunkers, underground shelters, artillery positions, surface-to-air missile systems, radar sites and ammunition storages as well as last-mile connectivity through roads, bridges, tunnels and helipads. Apart from building dual-use Xiao kang border villages, China has also massively upgraded all its air bases facing India, the report noted.