NEW DELHI: The Indian Army plans to build four stealth tunnels along the borders with China and Pakistan to store ‘sensitive ammunition’. The Army and public-sector firm National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect on Thursday.
The storage capacity of each tunnel will be 175-200 tonnes. Three tunnels will be built along the Northern borders and one along the Western borders.
Talking to TNIE, an officer said, “These will be caves and shafts, which will be both horizontal and vertical and will be able to handle vehicles that will carry and stockpile the sensitive ammunition.”
This will be a pilot project to be completed in two years. If the project succeeds, there are plans to increase the number of such structures along the borders. The ammunition at present is stored in open dumps exposed to weather conditions.
The deliberations for the project started in 2018 and a detailed report was presented to the Army, which was found cost-effective. The total cost of the project is Rs 15 crore.
The tunnels will be made using folds of the mountains, which will keep the ammunition like missile, rockets, artillery shells and other sensitive ammunition away from enemy surveillance and targeting.
The Army had earlier tried to build such tunnels but could not succeed as problems of dampness and seepage cropped up. NHPC has been roped in because of its expertise in tunnelling.
China and the US are known to have such tunnels.
Stealth chambers: It is quite difficult to move heavy equipment in mountainous areas bordering China due to lack of smooth roads. While the proposed stealth tunnels will strengthen India’s defensive capabilities, they will also protect the ammunition and other stored equipment from air strikes. Besides, the surrounding mountains will function as a shield that will protect the tunnels from being detected by enemy satellites