Modi Govt plans infrastructure boost along border areas: A strategy to tackle Chinese dragon?

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Barely two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech in Japan, took a jibe at China's 'expansionist' policies in the South East Asian region, the NDA regime has reportedly planned to launch a massive road building exercise along the border with neighbouring China. It must be considered as yet another bold move on the part of the fearless NDA government which perceives the threat from the dragon seriously. With this move, New Delhi gave a clear signal that it will not subdue against Beijing's provocations.

Major infrastructure push by Modi Government along China border

As per a report published in Hindustan Times, the government has decided to ease the rigid environmental norms to pay way for the construction roads along the borders and Maoist-infested areas in the country as well to tackle security threats. This decision would translate into the development of 6,000 km of roads within 100 km of the strategically important China borders along Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh region.

The environment ministry's move becomes more significant in the wake of Beijing's announcement of plans to build 1,300 km of rail network - including two lines linking Lhasa to the Indian border - and over 8,000 km of roads.

The government has also planned to build schools and hospitals within 100 kilometres of the LAC. It would also bring employment opportunities and economic development to locals.

The government has eased rigid environmental norms as well

Addressing a press conference, Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, "If we don't have good roads, how can we compete with China on strategic defence? We can protect our environment only if we protect our borders."

This bold move also comes in the wake of recent face-offs between Indian and PLA troops along the LAC in Ladakh. As per a TOI report there have been two face-offs between Indian and Chinese patrol troops in the past two weeks. The audacious Chinese patrol party were seen arguing with the BSF jawans along the LAC that they are in Chinese territory and even tried to raze the border walls constructed decades ago. Though there was no incursion, sources said, but the Chinese troops were pushed back by Indian soldiers.

Soon after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government took over in May this year, it had declared to expedite major infrastructure projects, including road-building, along the border with Pakistan and China. The current step is just another move in the same direction.

Why is China so nervous about these borders areas?

As per a report published in Niticentral, one reason is probably that China wants to reinforce its border with India, especially after the Modi Sarkar declared that one of its priorities was the development of infrastructure along the borders.

Deng Xiaogang, Deputy Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, responsible for the law and order, security and police, inspected the border security and the People's Liberation Army bases.

Addressing the border guards, Deng Xiaogang stressed: "Tibet is very special strategic location; it is an important barrier for the national security; development and stability in these border areas is an important part of the region's overall situation."

This is the reason why China is busy improving the infrastructure along the bordering regions as it will help in mobilisation of troops in these regions in emergency situations.

What are the motives of improving infrastructure along borders for India?

Just like China, construction of roads and building rail network along the bordering areas will help New Delhi create employment and improve tourism sector in the areas. Tourism in the hilly region will eventually help in generating revenues.

Construction of roads and rail links would also reduce the Chinese incursions along the border areas as forces could be mobilised to these inaccessible regions easily, in the eventuality of an attack from the dragon. Linking these regions with important cities and airports would give a major boost to India's new Mountain Strike Corps against China.

Defence experts consider it as very positive change in the approach of the Defence Ministry, ever since the new dispensation came to power. The South Block is not taking decisions with a defensive mindset. Rather, now decisions are being taken with national interest at the core.

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