After moving on road links to the Chinese border, the Union ministry of home affairs has turned to its long unguarded neighbour Myanmar, which has witnessed growing Chinese presence with an ambitious plan for a road along the border to strengthen surveillance.
In theory, India’s border with Myanmar is guarded by the Assam Rifles but the counter-insurgency force is deployed up to 50-100 km away from the border, deployed in counter-insurgency grids rather than through border outposts.Under the new plan that will be put before the Cabinet Committee on Security for its nod, the government would construct roads stretching to 1,417 km along the Indo-Myanmar border and establish more than 50 helipads to ensure accessibility and movement of forces through the treacherous terrain.
India had renewed its military doctrine on border roads along the Indo-China border a few years ago. The old doctrine dictated Delhi should not have roads close to the border to ensure poor road infrastructure slows down Chinese forces.
It was as part of the revised doctrine that phase-wise construction of 27 roads totalling 804 km was approved for operational purposes of the para-military forces along the Chinese border.
The security establishment, however, was not focussed on the border with Myanmar till P Chidambaram took over two years ago.
Since there were difficulties in nudging Assam Rifle to reorient, sources said the home ministry has also been pushing for giving the mandate of guarding the border with Myanmar to BSF.