Amid reports of China strengthening its road network on the Indo-China border, the Uttarakhand government has decided to seek help from the Indian Air Force for airlifting construction material to accelerate road construction on the Indian side of the border.
Uttarakhand shares a 350km international border with China. The Border Roads Organisation and the Central Public Works Department are constructing 10 strategically important roads in the border areas.
During a meeting on border security earlier this week, state government officials informed chief secretary Subhash Kumar of difficulties in constructing the roads due to the tough terrain and high altitude.
"We will request the IAF to send Mi-26 helicopters, which are huge and spacious," said Kumar. "Construction material and earth-moving machines can be airlifted.".
Retired bureaucrat SS Pangti who served in border areas said China had an advantage. "China rules the Tibet plateau, where construction is comparatively easy."
Growing Chinese activity close to the border has worried Uttarakhand. Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna said during an internal security national meet a few months ago that Chinese troops had intruded into Uttarakhand 37 times since 2007.
In recent weeks, there have been reports of heightened activity by Chinese troops near Barahoti area in Chamoli district. The Barahoti area is a pastoral tract of land with the Hoti river flowing through.
Earlier this year, there were alarming reports of Chinese troops scribbling the word China on rocks near Mana pass in Chamoli, at an altitude of 13,500 feet.
Experts said such tactics are used by troops from both sides to make their presence felt. Both Indian and Chinese troops reportedly drop items such as cigarette boxes and matchboxes in no man's land.