After the intense Dokalam stand-off between the Indian and Chinese troops, the infrastructure development towards the border in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh may now see a collaborative push by Army. The plan is to act all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as part of the “capability enhancement” plan.
An ongoing commander’s conference, chaired by General Bipin Rawat in presence of all top Lietenant Generals of the 11.73 force, is considering this issue as an important one. The agenda of this is the army concern towards the maintenance of high alerts and increased troop postings along LAC by both India and China despite “disengaging” at Doklam that recently happened.
There is an initial need for Army to have complete connectivity to the four mountain passes of Niti, Lipulekh, Thangla-1 and Tsang-Chokla in Uttarakhand by 2020 with further extensions improving thereafter, sources informed.
A proposal for “better command-and-control” of Army units across the Karakoram Pass to Lipulekh has been proposed. One corps and 15,000 soldiers divided in three divisions under, inclusive of improved inter-sector connectivity through lateral road links.
The unresolved LAC of 545-km long sector in Uttrakhand and Himachal has been quite peaceful between India and China, unlike tense Army face-offs in the region of Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the conference on Tuesday, gave assurance to the military ranks that she would “focus on capacity and capability development” and “closely monitor improvement in strategic infrastructure”. She visited the forward areas at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction last Saturday.
Last month General Rawat did warn about China trying to flex its muscle and continuing to show interest in Indian Territory through various measures. China, by sustaining 30 divisions, has already built a vast network of railway lines, highways, metal-top roads, air bases, radars, logistics hubs and other infrastructure in the entire Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).