At a time when India is lagging behind China in border infrastructure, defence minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the government was working to create “matching infrastructure” to realise the country’s military potential.
Addressing the first meeting of the consultative committee on defence, Jaitley said India’s immediate neighbours had already bolstered infrastructure in proximity to the borders. He said India was ramping up border infrastructure “based on the strategic reality of our neighbourhood.”
The minister said the government had taken several steps to overcome roadblocks such as procedural delays, environmental clearance and shortage of high-technology equipment to accelerate the process of building roads in critical areas.
India 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 Line of Actual Control. Out of this, 61 roads have been entrusted to Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
The army has prioritised 22 roads for development. Work on these roads is being closely monitored by the defence ministry so that there are no delays. BRO chief Lieutenant General AT Parnaik said some projects had been hit by factors such as delay in obtaining forest/wildlife clearance, difficult terrain, etc.
He said greater coordination with environment ministry, modernisation of BRO and induction of more units and resources had improved things.