Himalayan challenge: To build better along LAC is necessary, but against China, so are strategic friends

News: US Army’s Pacific Commanding General visiting India has drawn attention to China’s rapid build-up of military infrastructure along the LAC.

What is the new infrastructure being built by China along LAC?

China is rapidly building a dual-use border infrastructure. China is building troop shelters, gun positions, helipads and other infrastructure in disputed areas in eastern Ladakh to border villages along with Arunachal Pradesh. Add to this, two new Chinese bridges across the Pangong Tso.

Must read: Explained: Strategic significance of bridge China is building on Pangong Tso
What are the implications of Chinese infrastructure along LAC?

These infrastructures might solidify China’s position all across the 3,488 km LAC. Further, the construction denotes China’s aggressive foreign policy posture and border standoff with India might continue in future.

How India is responding to the Chinese infrastructure along LAC?

Ramped up border infrastructure development: In the last year’s budget, the government has increased the capital outlay for the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) by 40%. This included a six-fold hike in allocation for Arunachal Pradesh’s Border Area Development Programme.

India has quickened the pace of its border infrastructure development since the Galwan clashes, inaugurating multiple bridges and border roads along the LAC.

Further, India is also planning to enhance rail connectivity in the Northeast.

Focusing on faster implementation: In May 2020, the Government has increased the BRO’s procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore. Thus allowing BRO to acquire critical equipment for speedier laying of border roads and other construction.

What should be done?

However, in terms of resources, China still outpaces India. Hence, India needs to simultaneously engage in tactical collaboration with the US and other countries concerned about Chinese belligerence.

The upcoming Yudh Abhyas joint exercise with Americans in the Himalayas and the finalising of a logistics support pact with Vietnam are steps in the right direction.

Source: The post is based on the article “Himalayan challenge: To build better along LAC is necessary, but against China, so are strategic friends” published in “The Times of India” on 10th June 2022.

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