India-China Border Roads: In the last 12 years, India could manage to complete only 21 out of the 73 roads to be built under the strategically significant India-China Border Roads (ICBR) project, according to a report by The Indian Express. Sanctioned in 2005, the construction of these 73 ICBR project was started during the then UPA
government and the entire work was expected to be completed by 2012. But now, the deadline has been extended to 2020 by the NDA government as only 21 roads have been completed, says the report.
Defence Ministry sources told IE that the top officials are deeply concerned over the slow pace of the construction of these roads. The top government officials were briefed about the progress of the ICBR in March this year. For years, scores of reports have highlighted how China has been constructing massive infrastructure on its side of the border with India. In comparison, India’s poor record and slow progress in improving border infrastructure allows the deployment of only a few Army units at select places. While India and China have enjoyed peaceful relations for
around four decades, New Delhi can’t afford to keep delaying strategic projects like the ICBR.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bhupen Hazarika (Dhola-Sadia) Bridge on river Lohit, a tributary of Brahmaputra, in Assam. The bridge is believed to help movement of heavy vehicles, including of the Army, and improve connectivity in the North-East. But this project was also delayed by many years.
India’s failure to complete infrastructure projects within a time frame is a cause of worry. In the last two-three years, the government has shown some interest in the time-bound completion of projects. The ICBR roads are being constructed by three authories — 33 by Defence Ministry as General Staff roads, out of these only nine have been completed; Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is responsible for 27 roads, but only 5 have been completed; 13 roads are being built under the China Study Group headed by Foreign Secretary but only seven have been completed.