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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  After stand-off with China, India to speed up road construction along LAC
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After stand-off with China, India to speed up road construction along LAC

The home ministry has identified several BOPs of 'strategic security importance' to be linked by road with the capital Leh

Home minister Rajnath Singh is currently on a tour of BOPs in remote locations along the LAC in the Ladakh region. Photo: PTIPremium
Home minister Rajnath Singh is currently on a tour of BOPs in remote locations along the LAC in the Ladakh region. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: After yet another stand-off with the Chinese soldiers in Ladakh, the government has decided to speed up plans to build road connections between Leh and border outposts (BOPs) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to enable Indian troops to move quickly in crisis situations.

Taking serious note of regular incursions by the Chinese army in the region, the home ministry has identified several BOPs of “strategic security importance" —including Chushul, Chumar, Daulat Oldie Beg, Thaksung, Burste, Chung Tash and Hot Spring—to be linked by road with the capital Leh.

The move comes after a 12-13 September stand-off between the personnel of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the border agency guarding the India-China sector, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China in Burste over the construction of watch towers by China.

Most of the BOPs are in remote areas with no road connections and are accessible only by air.

“The Cabinet Committee on Security had recently agreed in principle to give infrastructure development for forward posts along the LAC a major push but the process is being delayed and we are trying to fast track it now. This will ensure faster movement of both man and machine particularly during a crisis situation and will act as a deterrent for the PLA personnel," said a senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity.

Home minister Rajnath Singh is currently on a tour of BOPs in remote locations along the LAC in the Ladakh region and has held several meeting with senior officials of the ITBP, Army, Border Roads Organisation (BRO), local police as well as the civil administration. He has directed them to expedite work on building road links between these BOPs and Leh.

Joginder Singh, former director general of the ITBP, admitted that connectivity and access to some of the forward posts along the LAC were a huge problem, particularly in Ladakh region.

“The government must ensure that these projects of strategic importance are carried out in a time-bound manner, and there should be greater accountability for it," Singh said.

Apart from Burste, there have been instances of stand-offs between ITBP and Chinese personnel in Daulat Oldie Beg, Chushul and Chumar sectors, mainly following the PLA incursions. Home ministry officials said the cabinet has also cleared a proposal to procure sophisticated weapons for the ITBP, including Beretta assault guns, long-range sniper rifles, night vision devices, telescopic equipment and micro, unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The procurement process is also in the final stages now. Most of this equipment will go to the ITBP deployed in the Leh region as this is one of the most sensitive sectors with a number of incidents of tension on the ground with the PLA personnel being reported from there," the official added.

According to Prakash Singh, former chief of the Border Security Force (BSF), it is extremely important for India to improve its infrastructure, particularly connectivity and communications, along the border.

“Forces like ITBP or BSF are the first line of defence so it is important that our posts in remote locations are well connected. This will increase mobility of men and hardware, and even though Chinese infrastructure at the border is better than ours, it will still act as some sort of a deterrent," Singh said.

India has already proposed to China regular flag meetings between senior officials of the two armies, ITBP and PLA, to ease tension along the border in the Leh region.

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Published: 24 Sep 2015, 12:52 AM IST
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