Infrastructure power play at the India China border

News: Recently, Satellite images have revealed that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is constructing a bridge in eastern Ladakh connecting the north and south banks of Pangong Tso. 

This area has been one of the five stand-off points in the tussle between India and China, and would reduce the distance for Chinese forces by 140 km. 

What have been the Chinese efforts at developing formidable border infrastructure? 

Since 1999, China has constructed dual-use infrastructure in Tibet under its western development strategy. 

Also, after 2015 the speed of development has increased many folds due to introduction of military reforms in China. 

China has initiated many projects for border infrastructure like construction of feeder roads on the border, railway lines, airports, helipads and border villages across India-China and Bhutan-China borders. 

It has built 628 border villages in the areas bordering India and Bhutan.  

China is developing these infra for dual purpose and thus plans to strategically connect these border points to the nearest border defensive unit regiment HQs . 

How will these projects be advantageous to China? 

On completing these projects, China would be able to assert its sovereignty on the disputed territories with India. 

It would reduce the turn-around time for mobilisation and deployment of forces from the interior. 

It would help support the forward-deployed border forces for a longer duration through improved logistics capabilities.  

This border infrastructure construction along with renaming 15 places in Arunachal, which it calls ‘south Tibet’, and the implementation of the land border law will help China to consolidate its claims on Indian territories.  

Must Read: The Chinese challenge uncovers India’s fragilities
What steps have been taken by India? 

India has taken the following initiatives:

Construction of long-pending border roads and bridges for swift troop movement. 

Raising a strike corps for emergency action. 

Attempts to modernise armed forces. 

Raising the strike and surveillance capabilities. 

Building capacity to expand the theatre of conflict to the high seas  

What are the challenges that India needs to overcome?

India needs to ensure that following challenges are overcome 

– Bureaucratic inertia

– Lack of coordination between civilian and military establishments. 

– Budgetary limitations 

– Reactionary nature of weapons acquisition policy and streamline it so that the demand and supply gap is plugged. 

What is the way forward? 

India needs to plug loopholes fast in its administrative structure so that it doesn’t have to face severe consequences in terms of National security. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Infrastructure power play at the India China border” published in Times of India on 7th Jan 2022 

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