Defence minister AK Antony is all set to visit China next month to discuss the proposed Border Defence Pact, after both agreed that peace and tranquil borders are the foundation of a strong bilateral relationship. India sought dates for Antony’s visit with Beijing being expected to respond soon.
On a day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Li Keqiang held talks to take the bilateral relationship forward, AK Antony took stock of strategic road projects undertaken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the country’s farthest frontiers.
It is learnt the minister reviewed the progress of the BRO’s road projects on the Indian side of the disputed line of actual control in the northeast and the northern sectors.
The review of BRO’s functioning comes on the heels of Antony asserting on May 11 that New Delhi had no plans to slam the brakes on infrastructure development and building up of military capacity along the disputed border with China. The government had in 2006 approved construction of 73 roads in forward areas in the north and the northeast to keep pace with infrastructure build-up on the Chinese side of the LAC. However, barely a third of these road projects have been completed.
Government sources said during Antony’s visit, the two countries will announce bilateral plans, including a naval exercise in Arabian Sea. Antony’s visit will be followed by national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon’s visit to Beijing for the 16th round of Special Representative Dialogue, which will focus on PLA’s incursion into Depsang Plains in Eastern Ladakh on April 15.