Infrastructure development on to facilitate inter-valley movement in Arunachal Pradesh

The Army is executing works to provide last-mile connectivity to the most forward posts; areas close to the Line of Actual Control to get mobile connectivity very soon

February 14, 2024 04:43 am | Updated 04:43 am IST - DINJAN (ASSAM)

A file photo of the India- China border in Bumla, Arunachal Pradesh.

A file photo of the India- China border in Bumla, Arunachal Pradesh. | Photo Credit: AP

As work on the 2,400-km-long Trans Arunachal Highway nears completion, focus of infrastructure development has shifted to the trans-frontier highway, which will connect all the valleys in the State, significantly reducing time and effort, both for military as well general movement, especially in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. In addition, the Army is executing works to provide last-mile connectivity to the most forward posts. Another area is the mobile connectivity, which areas close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will get connected very soon.

In the last few years, the Army has significantly upgraded firepower and infrastructure along the LAC in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, while the pace of capability and infrastructure development in the rest of the State has gained significant pace in the last few years to catch up with which includes road infrastructure, bridges, tunnels, habitat and other storage facilities, aviation facilities and upgradation of communications and surveillance.

“Within Lohit, Anjaw and Dibang districts from 2020 to 2023, four major roads totaling 411 km have been completed. Also 18 new bridges have been constructed and three under construction. Also, habitat for 1,600 troops has been constructed,” one source in the know said giving overview of the developments.

“Work on trans-Arunachal highway is about 92% complete and the project is expected to be completed this year,” the source stated. There are two major stretches of about 456 km on which work is under way.

Also, work on the nearly 1,800-km-long frontier highway is getting under way. It will start from Bomdila, pass through Nafra, Huri, and Monigong and end in Vijaynagar, near the Myanmar border. With regard to this, last week the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways has sanctioned two projects worth ₹2248.94 crore for construction of portions of this road.

Five verticals

Broadly, the capability and infrastructure development are being undertaken under five verticals — habitat, aviation, road infrastructure, operational logistics and security infrastructure.

Of these, the strategic and border roads are being constructed by the Central government agencies and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), while the Army is building the last-mile tracks to connect these roads to the forward posts on the LAC. This will ensure that several air-maintained posts will get connected by tracks. In the last five years, around 25 km of tracks were completed and work is on some more, the source stated. Another 12 tracks have been planned. The new bridges will help to move troops and material, officials said.

There are 22 roads currently under execution. Of these, 14 roads of around 700 km are being executed by the BRO and seven roads of 624 km by the NHIDCL.

India has two road axis in the forested Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP) area in Lohit and Siang and now efforts are under way to improve infrastructure all across. Engineering task forces of various formations of the Army are being employed to speed up work as working season is generally limited from September to February. Cross-connectivity between valleys is critical, which will enable quick inter-valley movement in times of exigencies, officials stated.

While Tawang and Kameng areas of Arunachal are under the Army’s 4 Corps headquartered at Tezpur, the RALP is under the 3 Corps based at Dimapur.

China has long undertaken extensive development of road infrastructure in eastern Arunachal and is now focusing on developing other build ups.

Since the May 2020 stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh, the Army has carried a major reorientation of troops towards the LAC under which several formations facing the western front were retasked to the LAC, in the backdrop of heightened Chinese activity across the LAC. Of the 3,488-km-long LAC, 1,346 km falls in the eastern sector. The restructuring post 2020 has resulted in balance of force posturing, one official added.

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