New Delhi: India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has built an alternative road through which its troops can enter the Doklam valley within 40 minutes with no restrictions on load carrying capacity.
In 2017, when Indian Army was engaged in a standoff with Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Doklam, it took up to seven hours on a mule track for forces to access the base, reported NDTV.
According to the Border Roads Organisation, the newly surfaced Bheem Base-Dokala road "was black topped on a war footing" and enable "defence preparedness of the country in the wake of any enemy aggression".
This new road will enable access to the area through two points, easing the logistic difficulties, reducing time and making the process of deployment smoother.
Another road to Dokala on the Flag Hill-Dokala axis will be completed by 2020. This road on the Flag Hill-Madhubala-Dokala route would ''passes through steep terrain at an altitude ranging from 3601 to 4200 metres (11,811 feet to 13,779 feet)". 10 km of this road have already been constructed. The remaining distance of a little more than 20 km will be completed within a year.
This year, BRO will complete blacktopping another 11 India-China strategic roads. Blacktopping of another nine roads will be completed next year, reported Hindustan Times.
The rapid construction along the India-China border over the last few years has changed the military dynamics in the region. This includes all-weather alternative access into Ladakh, passing through the Rohtang -Koksar- Kelong route into the Zanskar valley and further up into Nimu. Three more tunnels — Baralach La, Lachung La, and Tanglang La — are now being constructed. The Rohtang tunnel will be thrown open this December.
For India, the Doklam plateau is an undisputed part of Bhutanese territory, while China considers it to be an extension of its Chumbi Valley, the dagger-shaped wedge of land that lies in between Sikkim and Bhutan. The disputed region is approximately 89 square kilometres.
The stand-off between the Chinese People's Liberation Army and the Indian Army ended on August 28, 2017 when both Beijing and New Delhi announced that all their soldiers had been withdrawn from the disputed site.