Peeved over delays in construction of strategic roads and infrastructure projects bordering China in the northeastern States, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday emphasised the need to give a push to such projects in view of the current security environment.

Presiding over a meeting to review the progress of projects in the border areas of northeast India, which are crucial for the Army and the Air Force, Mr. Antony asked the new Minister of State for Defence Jitendera Singh to take up all issues relating to clearances pending with the Environment and Forests Ministry, State forest and public works departments which have delayed several projects.

The meeting was attended by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne of the Indian Air Force and senior Defence Ministry officials

“We need to go beyond the Proposed Date of Completion in view of the current security scenario. The time has come for the implementation of deliverables,” he told the review meeting.

As part of India's efforts to strengthen defences along its boundary with China, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been given several road projects, including 73 strategic roads in northeast India and the Prime Minister’s package for Arunachal Pradesh; a number of which have been delayed.

Mr. Antony observed since the majority of the teething problems have now been overcome, infrastructure projects should be completed in a time-bound manner. Defence Ministry sources admitted that red tape has blocked critical defence projects along the China border.

“A few months ago, 15 strategic roads, eight Long Term Perspective Plan, 111 General Staff roads, two Prime Minister’s Package for Jammu and Kashmir and nine other roads have been completed. Other roads are under various stages of progress,” sources said.

The Army’s plan to build several strategic roads have been hampered for want of clearances, as also lack of interest by private firms capable of undertaking such projects in remote areas. The BRO lags behind in procuring modern equipment for building the roads speedily.

For improving their operational capabilities, both the Army and the Air Force have been asking the Defence Ministry to undertake measures to speed up the delayed material’s procurements and complete the infrastructure projects along the northeast Indian border areas.

Mr. Antony also asked the Army to “take enough care” in preparing its requirements for acquisitions for equipment required for the northeastern Indian States. The Army has been upgrading its infrastructure in the region and is planning to purchase equipment including helicopters, howitzers and other systems.

The Defence Minister asked the Air Force to complete the upgrade of its eight Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The BRO lags behind in modern equipment for speedy building of roads

  • Vice Chief Air Marshal roped in to keep an eye on completion of eight ALGs in Arunachal Pradesh