The adversary in the northern sector was faced recently with “grit and determination” and it could not have been possible without proper infrastructural development, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday, referring to the stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh.
His comments came after inaugurating 24 bridges and three roads, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in four States and two Union Territories.
In a separate event, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over technology for indigenous extreme cold weather clothing system (ECWCS) to five Indian companies.
“Strong infrastructure in border areas is essential in today’s uncertain times as it strengthens the strategic capabilities. 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 has started a comprehensive integrated border management system sometime back,” he stated after the e-inauguration.
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, according to a Defence Ministry statement.
World’s highest motorable road
The main highlight was the 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 that also held the Guinness World Record of world’s highest motorable road, the statement said.
“Roads in border areas cater to the strategic needs and ensure equal participation of remote areas in the development of the nation,” Mr. Singh noted.
To boost tourism and facilitate the military personnel in border areas, Mr. Singh announced the setting up of ‘BRO Cafes’ at 75 places, as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations. These cafes would showcase the local traditions and facilities such as food, parking, sitting area, souvenir shops, medical inspection rooms and photo galleries, the statement highlighted.
The e-inauguration had taken the tally of infrastructure projects executed by the BRO to a record 102 in a single working season, that too in the 75th year of Independence, it emphasised.
Extreme weather clothing
The ECWCS is required by the Army for operations in glacier and Himalayan peaks. The Army, till recently, has been importing extreme cold weather clothing and several Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment (SCME) items.
A DRDO statement pointed out that the DRDO-designed ECWCS was an ergonomically designed modular technical clothing with improved thermal insulation and physiological comfort based on the insulation required at various ambient climatic conditions in the Himalayan regions during different levels of physical activity. It was handed over to private companies for manufacture by Secretary of the Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO G. Satheesh Reddy.
“The three layered ECWCS is designed to suitably provide thermal insulation over a temperature range of +15 to -50° Celsius with different combinations of the layers and intensity of physical work,”the DRDO observed.
The ECWCS embodied physiological concepts related to reduction in respiratory heat and water loss, unhindered range of motions and rapid absorption of sweat while providing water proof, wind proof features with adequate breathability and enhanced insulation as well as strength features required for high-altitude operations, it added.