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Ladakh fortified further as PM Modi clears Shinku La tunnel

Shinku La tunnel will give the Indian Army access to the strategic Ladakh region throughout the year (Representational image)

In a major decision that will give the Indian Army access to the strategic Ladakh region throughout the year, the government on Wednesday approved the construction of 4.1-kilometer tunnel under Shinku La, the construction of which will be completed by 2025. 

“The decision to clear the tunnel under Shinkun L:a makes strategic sense as to achieve all-weather connectivity on Manali-Upshi-Leh highway, the government would have to construct some 38 kilometers of tunnels under Baralacha La, Lachulung La and Taglang La, all passes touching heights of over 16000 feet which remained snowed in for at least five months a year,” reported Hindustan Times.

“The Border Roads Organization had made a black top road on Darcha-Padam-Nimu axis in 2019 but the road could not be used in winter months due to heavy snow on 16703 feet high Shinkun La. The road is critical to the defence of Ladakh as it is sheltered from both Pakistani and Chinese long range artillery or missile firing unlike the exposed Srinagar-Drass-Kaksar-Kargil highway near LoC and the Manali-Upshi-Leh highway near the LAC respectively,” it added.

The Darcha-Padam-Nimu route was used by the Indian Army to send arms and ammunition supplies to Eastern Ladakh during the LAC conflict with China in 2020.

PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared the tunnel and the approach roads on both sides at the Cabinet meeting. Since the BRO has already done road cutting and blacktopping of the approaches on both sides to Shinkun La, the government will now only have to complete the 4.1 km underground pass.