This Article is From Dec 20, 2022

On Border With China, India's 4-Point Defence Boost: From Roads To Rafales

New tunnel and highways, a key rail link, and new jet planes stationed near the region where most recent India-China border clash took place

The Sela Pass tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang.

Guwahati/Kolkata: Days after a clash with China at the border in the Northeast, India's ability to respond to incursions, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, is set for a boost.

Here are four key points that tell the story:

  1. All-weather tunnel: Indian troops will by next month get an all-weather tunnel for Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang region -- where the December 9 clash took place -- enhancing the capacity to move troops and equipment at short notice. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is constructing the tunnel at Sela Pass as part of the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang (BCT) road connection. It'll be the world's longest bi-lane tunnel at an altitude above 13,000 feet. technically, the project means two tunnels 980 metres and 1.55 km, and about 9 km of approach road.

  2. Trans-Arunachal Highway: The state government recently pushed the construction on the Trans-Arunachal Highway -- a nearly 2,000-km, two-lane highway from Tawang in the north-west to Kanubari in the east. Some of the road is already built and only needs an upgrade. Started in 2008, the project is likely to be completed by 2024.

  3. Rail link: The 45-km Sivok-Rangpoo railway link between West Bengal and Sikkim is expected to be completed by next year. It can aid quick movement of troops in large numbers to Nathu La Pass and Doklam regions. Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen RP Kalita has said there's no fresh issue over infrastructure development at Doklam, the area that witnessed a 73-day standoff between India and China in 2017 over China's attempts to construct a road where there are differing perceptions of the border. There are, however, reports of China setting up a ropeway to the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, besides strengthening roads.

  4. Rafale jets: The Air Force Station at Hasimara, a northern tip of Bengal near Bhutan and the northeastern states,  received the last of the 36 Rafale jets this month. This further boosts the Eastern Air Command. The plan to station Rafale jets at Hasimara was there before the latest flare-up in Tawang. Some of these jets were already at Hasimara, while the first ones had come to Ambala in Haryana. 

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