Deccan Chronicle

Amid Ladakh standoff with China, India puts border roads in fast lane

Deccan Chronicle| dc correspondent

Published on: June 2, 2020 | Updated on: June 2, 2020

India has been catching up at building in road infrastructure at the line of actual control.

Representational image. (AFP)

Representational image. (AFP)

New Delhi: Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DS-DBO), Rohtang tunnel and an alternate access to Leh connecting Manali  and Zanskar Valley are the key strategic roads being built by the Border Road Organisation in the Ladakh sector.

India has been catching up at building in road infrastructure at the line of actual control when compared to China. Border Road Organisation (BRO) has been given the task to build 61 strategic Indo China Border Roads (ICBRs) having a total length of 3,409 kilometers. Out of the 61 ICBRs, 28 roads of length 981.17 km were completed by 2018. In rest, connectivity has been achieved in 27 roads.  In North East, among the crucial projects, BRO is currently working on the Sela Tunnel which will ensure all-weather connectivity between Guwahati in Assam and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. BRO, along with Railways, is looking to build a tunnel under the Brahmaputra river.  

Despite the Chinese army threat, India has decided to go ahead with the construction of roads at the line of actual control (LAC). Defence ministry has asked railways to provide it with 11 trains to send laborers to LAC for the road building activities.

The Chinese army, which has entered 3-4 kilometres into Indian  territory, at the Galwan area in Ladakh sector is unhappy with the 255 kilometer Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road, which connects to base of the Karakoram pass -- the last military post. This road is near Aksai Chin and the Chinese fear that this gives Indian army capability to threaten the Lhasa-Kashgar highway.

According to sources, till last year, the Border Road Organisation was able to do  blacktopping of the road up to 210 kilometers and the rest of it will be completed this year. Chinese presence at Galwan is a threat to DS-DBO road as they can cut of this crucial road. With this road, which is at a height of 17,000 feet, it will take Indian army six hours to reach Daulat Beg Oldie from Leh against two days without it.  

The construction of the road is a challenge as the laborers at such a height need to be acclimatised and due to the weather work can happen only for few summer months.

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