In­dia to Boost De­fence In­fra Along LAC’s Cen­tral Sec­tor

This sec­tor is less de­vel­oped as com­pared to west­ern & eastern parts along Chi­nese fron­tier; roads to be built to en­sure quick mo­bil­i­sa­tion of troops & sup­plies

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Shau­rya.Gu­rung1 @times­group.com

New Delhi: With an aim to fur­ther strengthen the de­fence in­fra­struc­ture along its fron­tier with China, In­dia is fo­cus­ing on the cen­tral sec­tor of the Line of Ac­tual Con­trol (LAC) by plan­ning to con­nect its pri­mary passes and val­leys. This sec­tor is less de­vel­oped in terms of bor­der in­fra­struc­ture as com­pared to the LAC’s west­ern and eastern sec­tors and in some ar­eas it takes four days by foot for sol­diers to reach for­ward de­fence lo­ca­tions.

It also has two dis­puted ar­eas, in­clud­ing one, which has wit­nessed reg­u­lar Chi­nese in­cur­sions in the past, there­fore ne­ces­si­tat­ing the set­ting up of ad­e­quate bor­der roads to en­sure quick mo­bil­i­sa­tion of troops and sup­plies.

What is also im­por­tant to note is that the 73-day long Dokalam stand­off and the fol­low­ing clash be­tween In­dian and Chi­nese troops in Ladakh, which took place in the past few months, are in­di­ca­tions that such ag­gres­sions by the Chi­nese along the LAC will be a reg­u­lar bor­der fea­ture. So be­sides deve- lop­ing proper road con­nec­tiv­ity, In­dia is also en­sur­ing the “ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment” of its forces through force mul­ti­pli­ers such as ar­tillery guns and he­li­copters to be ready for any fu­ture con­flict. This de­vel­op­ment also comes at a time when the Army is re­or­gan­is­ing it­self by re­duc­ing re­dun­dant units to sharpen its com­bat el­e­ments.

The is­sue of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment along the LAC was raised dur­ing the Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence be­ing con­ducted in Delhi. The army’s Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Staff Du­ties (DGSD) Lt Gen AK Singh here on Fri­day said, “It has been de­cided that there would be a con­certed heft to­wards road con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties in this sec­tor (read as cen­tral sec­tor). To that end four passes to Niti, Lip­ulekh, Thangla 1 and Tsang­chokla have been de­cided to be con­nected by 2020 on pri­or­ity.”

A road map for intra-sec­tor con­nec­tiv­ity within the cen­tral sec­tor and the in­ter-sec­tor con­nec­tiv­ity with neigh­bour­ing ar­eas was also dis­cussed dur­ing the con­fer­ence. The cen­tral sec­tor of 3440-km long LAC starts from Dem-

by foot to reach for­ward de­fence lo­ca­tions in some ar­eas of cen­tral sec­tor

con­nect pri­mary passes and val­leys

en­sure “ca­pa­bil­ity de­vel­op­ment” of its forces through force mul­ti­pli­ers such as ar­tillery guns and he­li­copters chok in Ladakh and ends at In­dia’s bor­der with Nepal while the west­ern sec­tor is from the north­west of Karako­ram pass to Dem­chok and the eastern sec­tor be­gins from Sikkim and ends at the bor­der with Myan­mar. The cen­tral sec­tor has four val­leys, Mana, Har­sil, Niti and Sumna, which the Army is plan­ning to con­nect to each other. The Chitkul Val­ley which is lo­cated to the west of the cen­tral sec­tor will be con­nected as well.

The sec­tor is also sen­si­tive as it has two ar­eas in dis­pute with China- Bara­hoti and Pu­lam Sumda. Bara­hoti is a graz­ing ground in Ut­tarak­hand, which has wit­nessed a his­tory of in­cur­sions by Chi­nese troops, in­clud­ing an air in­cur­sion in June this. Sources ex­plained that although more roads start­ing from the hin­ter­land and reach­ing up to the LAC are re­quired, what is also badly needed is in­ter-val­ley con­nec­tiv­ity, which will al­low switch­ing of forces. In re­la­tion, the Bor­der Roads Or­gan­i­sa­tion (BRO) fol­low­ing the Dokalam stand­off had fast-tracked the con­struc­tion of the 73 strate­gic In­dia-China Bor­der Roads along the LAC, most of which are planned to be com­pleted by 2022.

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