M A I N   N E W S

Nod to road network along China border
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
The Government of India today took a major policy decision with far-reaching strategic significance when the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the construction of a 608-km road network along the entire India-China border. The CCS also directed the Border Roads Organisation to complete the monumental task in six years which will cost the exchequer Rs 912 crore.

The decision is a virtual reversal of an unwritten strategic code under which the Indian government deliberately did not prepare the road network on its international border with China since the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict. The reason was that in the event of a war, the PLA, the Chinese army, which is much bigger in size than the Indian army, could use Indiaís own road network for making rapid advances.

However, today the situation has got changed for several reasons. One, India has officially declared itself it to be a nuclear weapon state. Secondly, China has, of late, embarked upon a major mission to build all-weather, wide roads on all its international borders. The Chinese have completed a big chunk of its border development with India.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee went on record to say that the BRO initially wanted to complete the task in seven years but the CCS, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, directed the executing authority to finish the work in six years.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has visited various border states, like Arunachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, both of which share the border with China, in the recent past. Mr Saranís prime objective was to discuss with the state governments concerned ways and means of developing the border areas and improving the infrastucture there.

The previous NDA government had set up four expert committees, one of them on border development.





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