New Delhi: India will build 10 more tunnels to enable rapid military movements in the border areas. These tunnels will be in addition to the recently opened Atal tunnel in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, and the Zoji-la tunnel, which is under construction to connect Srinagar with Kargil and Leh.
India is going ahead with the tunnels project by dismissing China's demand that construction activities along the border areas should be halted.
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has started the initial steps for the construction of the tunnels.
India recently built 44 bridges in the areas bordering Pakistan and China to speed up vehicular movement.
The important DBO tunnel
The most important among these proposed tunnels is the one to Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) in eastern Ladakh near China where an Indian airfield is located.
The tunnel will be constructed in an area that is at an elevation of 17,800 feet to connect DBO to the Depsang Valley.
According to the assessment of security experts, China could try to disrupt India’s military access to the air base by seizing the DBO-Depsang road. The tunnel will provide an alternative to the DBO-Depsang road.
Tunnels will also be built in the Nubra Valley, Khardung La and Chang La on the border.
India has already established a large military presence in Depsang and DBO in the wake of some Chinese incursions in the recent past.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to visit border areas
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit the border areas in Sikkim on Friday and Saturday to inaugurate roads and bridges built near China.
He may also meet soldiers stationed near the Chinese border. He had earlier visited military officials guarding the border in eastern Ladakh.
10 new tunnels
Ladakh - 8, including the ones connecting Daulat Beg Oldi, Nubra Valley, Khardung La and Chang La
Kashmir - 2
Benefit: The tunnels are being built in areas where road traffic is disrupted every year for up to six months due to heavy snowfall during the winter months. The opening of the tunnels will enable the rapid movement of troops throughout the year, even in winter months.
Construction: The tunnels will be constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO)
Total length: 100 km.