India China Lac News: Rajnath Singh unveils 90 projects to close infrastructure gap with China | India News

Continuing the ongoing effort to reduce the huge border infrastructure differential with China, as many as 90 projects — including the crucial Nechiphu tunnel on the road to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, two revamped airfields in West Bengal, two helipads, 22 roads and 63 bridges — were formally inaugurated by defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
The foundation stone for the upgrade of the critical Nyoma advance landing ground barely 50 km from the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, which will ensure it can also handle fighter jet operations, was also “virtually” laid by Singh, at the ceremony to inaugurate the 423-metre Devak bridge built by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) in Jammu.
The Rs 230 crore upgrade work at the Nyoma ALG located at an altitude of over 13,400-feet — which includes extending and strengthening the existing airstrip into a 2.7-km “rigid pavement” runway for all kinds of fixed-wing aircraft for “defensive as well as offensive operations” — will be completed around mid-2025, as was reported by TOI in February.
“Nyoma will be developed as a staging ground for troops deployed at forward posts in Ladakh. It will be one of the highest airfields in the world, which will be a game-changer for our forces,” Singh said.
The thrust on border infrastructure development is taking place amid the continuing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, which is into its fourth year now, as also heightened tensions all along the 3,488-km long LAC.
The 90 new infrastructure projects, built by BRO at a cost of Rs 2,941 crore, are spread across 11 states and UTs, including 36 in Arunachal, 26 in Ladakh and 11 in J&K. They follow the completion of 103 projects worth around Rs 2,900 crore in 2022, and 102 projects for over Rs 2,200 crore in 2021.
There is, however, still a long way to go. China has assiduously strengthened its military positions all along the frontier in terms of bunkers, underground shelters, artillery positions, surfaceto-air missile systems, radar sites and ammunition storages as well as last-mile connectivity through roads, bridges, tunnels and helipads. Apart from building dual-use Xiao kang border villages, China has also massively upgraded all its air bases facing India.
Singh, on his part, was all praise for the BRO for constructing a network of roads, tunnels and bridges in “many inaccessible areas” despite huge challenges. “Together with BRO, we are ensuring the nation is secure and border areas are developed. Timely completion of infrastructure projects in far-flung areas has now become the new normal of the new India,” he said.
The 500-metre long Nechiphu tunnel on Balipara-Charduar-Tawang road at an altitude of 5,700-feet, for instance, will help bypass the extreme foggy and bad weather conditions that hamper general traffic and military convoys in the region. “This tunnel, along with the underconstruction Sela Tunnel, will provide all-weather connectivity to the strategic Tawang region,” an officer said.
The Bagdogra and Barrackpore airfields in West Bengal, reconstructed at a cost of over Rs 500 crore, in turn, will not only bolster the preparedness of the IAF but also facilitate commercial flight operations in the region.

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