India speeds up airfield & helipads construction along LAC

As stand-offs persist at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)  in Ladakh for the last two years, India has ramped up the pace of construction of airfields and helipads along the LAC stretching from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east.

In addition, India has also stepped up the pace of building infrastructure, including all weather roads along the border and the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan

Approximately 3,000 km of roads have been constructed in border areas in the last five years and the expenditure incurred is over `20,700 crore.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed 2,088.57 km of roads in the last five years along the China front.  This effort incurred an expenditure of `15,477 crore, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

He also said the BRO built 1,336.09 km of roads along the Pakistan front at a cost of `4,242.38 crore. Similarly, 151.55 km of road was built along the India-Myanmar border at a cost of `882.52crore.

The BRO also constructed a 19.25 km road along the India-Bangladesh border costing `165.45 crore.  The total amounted to `20,767 crore for all these projects, the minister said in a written reply.

The construction of airfields and helipads along the LAC has added muscle to India’s preparedness to deal with any threat from China.  These airfields are able to handle fighter jet flying besides landing and takeoff of giant transport aircraft thereby ensuring uninterrupted logistical support to the troops deployed at the front at the LAC, sources said. India can now rush additional troops, light and heavy weapons and food and clothing at a short notice to the troops there in case of any emergency, they added.

As regards roads, 73 roads were identified as strategic with most of them linking the mainland with the LAC.  Some of the important already completed projects include the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie Road (DS-DBO) and Atal Tunnel under Rohtang Pass.

Construction is in full swing for the tunnel at the Zojila pass linking the entire country with Ladakh.  At present, Ladakh is cut off from the rest of the country for four to five months in the winter due to snow.

Once completed, Ladakh will have two road links, including one through Kashmir and the other through Manali via Rohtang pass.

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