Rajnath Singh inaugurates 27 BRO projects, several of which are close to the Chinese border
The Chisumle-Demchok Road in eastern Ladakh, according to Singh, is one of the "most important roads being dedicated to the nation today."
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated on Tuesday, without naming China, that "what we had to face in the northern sector recently, we were able to face the adversary with determination, it was not possible without proper infrastructure development."
He also mentioned that in the current scenario, the possibility of a conflict cannot be ruled out. "In today's uncertain environment, the possibility of any kind of conflict cannot be ruled out. Such situations motivate us even more for the development of these areas," the defence minister said.
Speaking at the inauguration of 27 new roads and bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), many of them close to the China border, Singh said that "it is a matter of pride that we have the BRO for cooperation in the development of these areas…"
"Infrastructure development in border areas also strengthens our strategic capabilities. As we move forward in strengthening the border infrastructure, we must also strengthen our surveillance capacity in the same manner," Singh said.
The 27 projects, including 24 bridges, were built at the cost of Rs 2,245 crore. "They will play an important role in strengthening the country," said Singh. He stated that the new projects will "add many new links" to BRO's "chain of records".
Singh said that one of the "most important roads being dedicated to the nation today is the Chisumle-Demchok Road" in eastern Ladakh. Demchok is one of the areas that has remained unresolved in the 20-month-long India-China military standoff, as some "so-called civilians" have pitched tents on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"This road, built at an altitude of more than 19,000 feet, on the Umling La pass in southern Ladakh, has now become the world's highest motorable road," Singh said, adding that it will "not only enable faster movement of armed forces to the region but will also boost tourism and improve the socio-economic condition of the local people in the region."
Five of the 24 bridges he inaugurated are in Ladakh, nine are in Jammu and Kashmir, three are in Uttarakhand, five are in Himachal Pradesh, and one is in Arunachal Pradesh, he said. The bridges range in length from 20 metres to 140 metres.
Another key bridge, he said, is on the Flag Hill – Dokala Road in Sikkim, which gives an alternate axis to the India-China-Bhutan trijunction near the Doklam Plateau, where India and China were locked in a 70-day standoff in 2017. According to Singh, the bridge on this route is a 140-foot double-lane modular Class 70 bridge with a height of 11,000 feet. He stated that in the past, the government had to import various parts in order to construct such bridges, but that this is no longer the case.
Infiltration, skirmishes, illegal commerce, and smuggling in border areas, he added, are common concerns, for which the government established the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System some time ago.
"Roads in border areas are not only for strategic needs but also ensure equal participation of remote areas in the development of the nation. In this way, these bridges, roads and tunnels play an important role in our security, and social development to empower the entire nation," Singh said.
Inaugurating the new projects, Singh said: "If we look at the history of human civilization, then we will find that only those communities, societies or nations have been able to show the way to the world, which have developed their own paths firmly."
The roads made by the BRO, he said, play an "important role in improving the socio-economic conditions in the border areas". He claimed that following independence, the government adopted policies that saw the hinterland flourish while the border districts remained undeveloped and that this pattern continued for a long period."As we moved away from Delhi, the development graph would fall proportionally," he said.
That is no longer the case, he asserted. "In today's era, distance is not measured in kilometers, but in hours. BRO's roads, tunnels and bridges have greatly reduced the distance and time between places today. That is, people belonging to the border areas are not only near the heart, they are also near Delhi."
According to Singh, the government built roads, motorways, expressways, and extended the length of new railway tracks and airfields as part of the Bharatmala project.
The progress made by the BRO in creating roads, tunnels, and other infrastructure in remote locations in the previous six to seven years, according to the defence minister, has been "unprecedented."
He said that as infrastructure in the border areas is being strengthened, "I am sure that in the coming times, there will not be any such area of our country where basic facilities are not available."