India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed the construction of another crucial bridge in the state of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China which will allow the New Delhi of faster movement of men and logistics material towards the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
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As reported by ET, BRO finished the bridge at Daporijo over the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh near Doklam that witnessed a month-long military standoff in 2017 between nuclear-armed neighbors India and China.
The bridge is essential considering it will ensure adequate provision of supplies to around 3,000 Indian Army soldiers placed near the LAC and also ensure their quick mobilization particularly to the two disputed areas of Maza and Asaphila in the Daporji area.
The successful completion of the bridge is another star on BRO’s shoulders considering that it has been constructed at a time of the novel coronavirus outbreak when India is in total lockdown. The bridge was inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prema Khandu via video conferencing and was opened to traffic on the same day.
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The 430 feet bridge’s weight carrying capacity was also upgraded to 40 tons from 20 tons which will cater to future infrastructural needs of the region while allowing unhindered movement of heavy army vehicles such as artillery guns to forward areas along LAC and allow easy movement of supplies to 451 villages.
An army official who spoke to ET on the condition of anonymity said that BRO was given a two-month deadline to complete the bridge as it was vital to cater to any requirement that could come up due to the adversary, but the BRO worked 24×7 to finish the job in a month despite the COVID-19 threat.
He added that BRO continued working while taking precautions against COVID-19 so that help can be provided in case there was an outbreak of the pandemic in nearby areas.
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The new bridge at Daporijo has replaced two old bridges, one at Tamim and other at Daporijo which were essential for the movement of supplies to 3,000 troops and 451 villages near LAC and whose load carrying capacity had deteriorated due to weathering to just three tons and nine tons respectively.
BRO’s task was made further difficult by incessant rains and unscrupulous elements who did not want the work to proceed.
BRO found that cracks had developed at the Daporijo bridge even after being repaired twice earlier and was declared unsafe for movement of heavy vehicles after liaison with district administration, although traffic did not stop as it was the only lifeline in the area.
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BRO’s 23 Border Task Force and Project Arunak that is responsible for constructions in Arunachal Pradesh took over the bridge from the PWD authorities after the issue was pitched to Military Operations wing and the Defence Ministry and under the leadership Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, Director General Border Rods the project was accorded the highest priority.
India increased the pace of construction of crucial infrastructure including airports, railways, and roads in its northeast region in the past six years and has completed 74 strategic roads with plans to finish 20 more with an eye on China that has motorable roads right up to the border with India.
Arunachal Pradesh was the scene of the 1962 India-China border conflict that ended badly for India. China on its parts claims all of the state as “Southern Tibet.”
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The two countries are yet to demarcate their border with India reporting 600 Chinese incursions along the LAC in 2019, a rise of 50% compared to 2018. Experts have stated that the lack of reliable and all-weather connectivity had made India vulnerable near the LAC which has been the cause of friction between India and China.
The new bridge has come in the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and China after Beijing accused India of violating WTO’s FDI norms by barring investment from entities or individuals from countries that share a land border with India.