Indian Defence Minister on Monday said that China and Pakistan have been creating border disputes under a mission.
“You are well aware of the conditions created along our northern and eastern borders. First it was Pakistan, and now also by China, as if a border dispute is being created under a mission. We have a border of about 7,000 km with these countries where the tension continues,” Rajnath Singh said.
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The defence minister was speaking after inaugurating the bridges built in strategically key areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
The bridges, built in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, were dedicated to the nation by Singh in a virtual conference. Sources said seven of the 44 bridges are in Ladakh where the Indian Army is locked in a standoff with the Chinese PLA since May.
“Our armed forces personnel are deployed in large numbers in areas where transport is not available throughout the year,” he said, noting improvement in border infrastructure will significantly help armed forces. “These roads are not only for strategic needs, but they also reflect equal participation of all stakeholders in the development of the nation,” Singh said.
The defence minister praised the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for working tirelessly even during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown period. The defence ministry said despite unprecedented snowfall breaking a 60-year record, all strategic passes and roads were cleared for traffic about one month before their average yearly opening dates.
“I am happy to know that over 2,200 kilometers of roads have been cut by the BRO during the last two years, using the latest technologies, and state-of-the-art equipment. Also, surfacing was carried out on about 4200 kms of roads,” he added. Amid the border standoff with China, India is expediting work on several key projects including on a strategic road linking Darcha in Himachal Pradesh with Ladakh that will criss-cross a number of high-altitude snow-bound passes.
The nearly 290-km-long road will be crucial for the movement of troops and heavy weaponry into the frontier bases of the Ladakh region and will provide a crucial link to the Kargil region.
(With inputs from agencies)