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
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.