NEW DELHI: Emphasising upon the need to enhance road connectivity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday hinted at a collusive threat from Pakistan and China. Singh’s hint at a collusive threat came on the day when India and China held their seventh round of military talks to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ladakh. He said: “You are well aware of the conditions created on our northern and eastern borders. First Pakistan, and now also by China, as if a border dispute is being created under a mission by the two countries. We have a border of about 7,000 km with these countries.”
The Raksha Mantri talked about it during the e-inauguration of 44 bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Monday. He also laid the foundation stone for the Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh. Most of these bridges enhance connectivity to areas leading up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a push to infrastructure amid the India-China standoff.
The Defence Ministry said that eight of these bridges are in Ladakh and another 10 of these bridges are in Jammu and Kashmir. These bridges are of strategic importance and provide connectivity to remote areas. The 44 bridges are spread over seven states and union territories.
Singh also said that in the challenging times of Covid-19 and despite the border tensions caused by Pakistan and China, the country was not only resolutely facing them but also bringing about historical changes in all sectors of development. Lauding the BRO for its role in improving border infrastructure, Singh said these bridges improved connectivity in the far-flung areas of Western, Northern and North East sectors and fulfilled the aspirations of local people.
They would also meet the transport and logistics requirements of the armed forces throughout the year, he added. He said that the annual budget of the BRO that varied from Rs 3,300 crore to Rs 4,600 crore in years 2008-2016, saw a substantial rise and is pegged at over Rs 11,000 crore in 2020-21. There was no reduction of this budget despite Covid-19.
He also announced that the government has sanctioned high-altitude clothing to BRO engineers and workers.