Tap tech for border roads: Rajnath Singh to BRO, cites Chinese infra across LAC

ByRahul Singh 
May 07, 2022 03:14 PM IST

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said the Chinese manage to reach different places very quickly due to their proficiency in construction in mountainous areas and asked Border Roads Organisation to increase its capability with full use of technology.

NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to scale up its capability through latest technology for faster infrastructure development in forward areas, citing how the Chinese are tapping into their construction expertise in mountains to increase their reach to desired areas on their side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the northern sector.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh addressed an event organised to mark the Border Roads Organisation’s (BRO) 63rd raising day in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh addressed an event organised to mark the Border Roads Organisation’s (BRO) 63rd raising day in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

“The Chinese presence has increased in the northern sector in the recent past. Due to their proficiency in construction in mountainous areas, they manage to reach different places very quickly. BRO must continue to work in parallel and focus on increasing its capability with full use of technology,” Singh said at an event organised to mark the BRO’s 63rd raising day.

He said the government had increased the capital budget of BRO by 40% to 3,500 crore in 2022-23, reflecting the Centre’s commitment to the country’s security and development of border areas.

His comments came at a time when the border row between India and China in the Ladakh sector has entered its third year, and both countries have hardened their stance on LAC with increased military activities on both sides of the boundary, deployment of modern weapons, infrastructure development, and a series of combat manoeuvres by their armies.

The minister said the development of border areas was a critical part of India’s comprehensive defence strategy, and it would strengthen the country’s security apparatus and bring a positive change in the lives of people living in remote areas.

“The more empowered the people of border areas become, the more aware and concerned they will be about the security of those areas. With changing times, we are committed to moving forward for the development of our border areas. It is our top priority to provide maximum facilities to those who work round-the-clock for our security,” he said.

Talking about the importance of roads, bridges and tunnels in the progress of a nation, he said the projects completed by BRO had enhanced the operational preparedness of the armed forces and improved the socio-economic conditions of the people living in far-flung areas.

“On account of terrain friction on our side of LAC, we need to exploit technologies to meet the infrastructure development requirements of not only the armed forces but also for economic development, health, education and tourism. BRO is at the forefront of these activities in a challenging environment along the Himalayas,” said former director general of military operations Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd).

BRO has played a vital role in improving infrastructure in the Ladakh sector during the ongoing border row with China, a senior army officer said, asking not to be named.

In his address, director general border roads, Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhry asked BRO personnel to continue on the path of excellence, and conclude certain critical tunnel and airfield construction projects at the earliest.

After being raised in 1960, BRO has constructed over 60,000 km of roads, more than 840 bridges, 19 airfields and several tunnels under adverse climatic and geographical conditions along India’s borders as well as in friendly foreign countries, contributing towards the country’s strategic objectives, the defence ministry said in a statement.

“In 2021-22, a total of 102 infrastructure projects - 87 bridges and 15 roads - were completed by BRO, the most in a single year. This included construction of world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet - Atal Tunnel, Rohtang, and the world’s highest motorable road over Umling La in eastern Ladakh,” the ministry added.

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