The roads which have been constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), will be used to reach the boundary tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.
Ahead of the India-China informal summit later this month, India has opened up an alternate road which will make it easy for the Indian forces to move faster than before in the Doklam area. This is the same spot which had witnessed a 73-day military standoff between the armies for both sides in 2017. In the opinion of experts, this new road does not solve all problems, but was a necessary step, and one long overdue.
Reports indicate that the Chinese are building up its storage of ammunition and construction of more roads including helipads which would help in faster deployment in that area.
Comparing India’s infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU, says that “India has a difficult and poor infrastructure, which means it always had greater difficulty in moving forces to the border. With better infrastructure we may be able to move forces to border and shift them around different areas on the border (as needed), improving the country’s defence capabilities.”
“China always had better access to LAC partly because of the terrain (plateau), and also because it has put money into border infrastructure. This improved infrastructure allows them to move rapidly and bring their military forces near the border,” Rajagopalan adds,
The roads which have been constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), will also be used to reach the boundary tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. And will also provide strategic advantage to Bhutan.
According to sources in the Indian Army, the road is very much inside the Indian side of LAC and the BRO has been given 72 roads to construct in the area. In 2005, India had decided to reverse its decision of not building roads near the LAC and these had to be completed by 2012. However, this deadline has been extended to the end of 2019. Covering over 3,346 km, the BRO so far is in the process of constructing around 61 roads along the India-China border.
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“In the absence of proper roads, the troops had to trek for several hours and there was no road for moving them in vehicles or operating helicopters as there were no helipads around,” explained the officer.
After the crisis ended following the stand-off in 2017, BRO took up the task of constructing a road which would withstand all kinds of extreme weather and connect the Bheem base to the Doklam plateau.
The work of constructing roads despite difficult terrain and heavy troop movement the BRO has also completed the road connecting Kupup in East Sikkim to the Dokala base which is located on the outskirts of the Doklam plateau.
Since 2017, the concentration from the Indian side has been to focus on in the border areas which will give it not only strategic but tactical advantage too.
It is expected that by 2020, the BRO will finish the construction of another road which will connect Sikkim to the Dokala base which is based in very steep terrain.