Taking a leaf out of China’s aggressive infrastructure buildup along the Indian border, the Army plans to build an all weather road, new tunnels and a railway line connecting the Ladakh region with the rest of the country. One of the main points for discussion at the high powered Army Commander’s Conference that kicked off in the capital on Monday was the speedy construction of the all weather road link, which will include a new tunnel at the 16,000 feet Bara-lacha Pass, connecting Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul district with Ladakh. This will be in addition to the nine kilometer long tunnel being constructed at the Rohtang pass by the Border Roads Organisation to overcome the annual problem of closing off the crucial pass during heavy snow.
Alarmed at the rapid development of infrastructure across the border, the Army is also pushing for the construction of a rail link to the Ladakh region through Himachal. A senior officer confirmed that the need for an “all time connectivity” of the region with the rest of the country was one of the main points being discussed at the conference.
As reported by this newspaper, the Prime Minister’s Office has already given its approval to the proposal for a railway line to Leh via the Rohtang Pass and the Railway Ministry has been asked to carry out a feasibility survey of the Bilaspur-Leh route.
India has been beefing up infrastructure along the Chinese border in the Ladakh region and has reopened several forward landing bases for faster supply lines to troops posted in the difficult terrain. Over the past year, the Daulat Beg Oldi and Fukche airfields in eastern Ladakh have been reopened and the Air Force is now working to open the Neoma advanced landing ground.