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From Arunachal to Ladakh, India strengthens its border along China with inauguration of 24 bridges and three roads

A bridge constructed by Border Roads Organisation over Teesta River in North Sikkim (PIB file photo)

Completing an important road axis and strategic laterals along the northern and eastern borders of the country, as many as 24 bridges and three roads in four states and two union territories were inaugurated by Defence Rajnath Singh today.

Built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), of the 24 bridges, nine are in Jammu and Kashmir; five each in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh; three in Uttarakhand and one each in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Of the three roads, two are in Ladakh and one is in West Bengal.

It also includes inauguration of India's first indigenous Class 70 140-feet Double-Lane Modular Bridge, built at the height of 11,000 feet at Flag Hill Dokala, Sikkim and Chisumle-Demchok road at Umling La Pass at over 19,000 feet in Ladakh which also holds the Guinness World Record of world’s highest motorable road.

While e-inaugurating the projects, the Defence Minister exuded confidence that these construction works would go a long way in the development of "a new India". He said that the road at Umling-La pass will enable faster movement of the Armed Forces, boost tourism and ensure socio-economic development of the region. 

"Roads in border areas cater to the strategic needs and ensure equal participation of remote areas in the development of the nation," said Singh while commending BRO for its perseverance in achieving the feat despite the challenges of sub-zero temperatures and high altitude.

The Modi government, he said, has accorded top priority to infrastructure development in border areas, just as the focus has been on strengthening the interior parts, keeping in view the security needs of the country.

"We faced our adversary in the northern sector recently with grit and determination. It could not have been possible without proper infrastructural development," Singh said today, pointing towards the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh.

"As we move forward in the direction of strengthening our border infrastructure, we have to bolster our surveillance systems as well. Problems of infiltration, skirmishes, illegal trade and smuggling, etc often persist in border areas. In view of this, the government had started the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System sometime back,” he mentioned.

The minister described the indigenous Double-Lane Modular Bridge as a shining example of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ and appreciated the fact that it has been developed at a much lower cost and can be dismantled, if need be. 

Ladakh China

"It is an important milestone on the path to achieve ‘Make in India’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a symbol of the Government's resolve to provide faster connectivity to border areas. It will also pave the way for the construction of more bridges in such areas,” he added.

The e-inauguration has taken the tally of infrastructure projects executed by BRO to a record 102 in a single working season. The BRO has completed the construction in a record timeframe, with state-of-the-art technology used in most of them. Earlier in June, Singh had dedicated to the nation 12 roads and 63 bridges – totalling 75 projects – in the 75th year of Independence under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Singh defined the construction of roads, highways, tunnels and bridges in border areas as pivotal to building a strong and prosperous nation, saying that a country, which develops its own paths, shows the way to the world. He also made special mention of the recent milestones of the BRO, including Atal Tunnel, Kailash Mansarovar road, recent inauguration of 54 bridges and setting up of Centres of Excellence on ‘Road Safety’ & ‘Roads, Bridges, Tunnels, Air-fields’.

He said that the government has taken a number of steps in the last six-seven years to strengthen the BRO, including increasing their budget by three to four times.

In a bid to boost tourism and facilitate the Armed Forces personnel in border areas, the Defence Minister announced setting up of 'BRO Cafes' at 75 places, as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations. These Cafes will showcase the local traditions and facilities such as food, parking, sitting area, souvenir shops, medical inspection rooms and photo galleries.

Chief of the Army Staff General M M Naravane; Director General Border Roads Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhry, senior officials of Ministry of Defence, Minister of State Jitendra Singh along with the Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir also attended the event virtually.

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