NEW DELHI: The standoff in Eastern Ladakh since May 2020 stimulated the road construction and bridge laying on all the sensitive points. Also, the road formation going towards Northern Borders saw a major push.
Sources confirmed an important bridge towards Doka La in Sikkim has been launched by the Border Roads Organisation, and Yangtse in Arunachal Pradesh has been linked with roads. “Launch of Indigenously-developed (by GRSE) 140’ double lane Class-70 modular bridge in Sikkim (to Dokala) is complete, and forward location of Yangtse in Arunachal Pradesh is now connected with road.” said the source.
Doka La in Sikkim, Yangtse in Arunachal, and Dungti in Ladakh are all forward areas near Line of Actual Control (LAC) and all these have been the locations of standoff and skirmishes in the past.
Indian Army post of Doka La in Sikkim is close to the Dolam Plateau where on June 16, 2017, the Chinese had tried to construct a road and it had led to a major stand-off (Doklam Standoff). It got over after 73 days. This road will help in faster reaction in case of any unilateral step taken by the Chinese Army, said a senior Army officer.
It was the Yangtse area where a large number of Chinese soldiers had congregated in July 2018 and a scuffle had taken place.
The source added that the all-around approach led to fast road construction in this difficult area. “The new road constructed towards the Yangtze was going on at an approximate rate of 0.5 km per year. We inducted 3 new excavators and 3 new dozers, and completed 12 km formation work between Mar to Oct 2020 and quickly connected this road which is in direct Chinese observation.” He said. The Dungti-Hena road has also been completed.
In 2018, intelligence agencies found evidence of a strong Chinese presence in Zeo La near Mount Sajjum, a strategic location across the LAC, which has the potential to “cut off the entire Dungti-Demchok axis” on the Indian side.
The sources said over 1,200 km of formation works and about 3,000 km of surfacing works has been completed during Financial Year 2020-21. “Out of 1,200 km formation, 162 km is in Rajasthan. The rest is distributed all along the Northern border from J&K to Arunachal Pradesh.” The source said.