By Jitendra Bahadur Singh: China, which is already locked in a lingering border standoff with India, has been building border defence villages adjacent to Uttarakhand, sources told India Today. These border villages, comprising 250 homes, are being built 11 kilometers away from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China has also been involved in the construction of around 55-56 houses around 35 kilometers away from the LAC adjoining Uttarakhand, which remain under the supervision of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It has plans to construct 400 villages in the eastern sector along the border alone.
Uttarakhand shares a 350-km border with China. Most of the border villages see outward migration owing to a lack of livelihood opportunities.
These villages are big complexes equipped with all the facilities. The Indian Army earlier said that it was monitoring the situation along the LAC, which is the border between India and China.
INDIA TO BUILD 6-KM LONG TUNNEL
A six-kilometre-long tunnel will be constructed between Bundi and Garbiyang on the Ghatiabagar-Lipulekh road in Uttarakhand to make the way to the last border post of the Lipulekh pass on the India-China border more smooth, a senior BRO official told news agency PTI.
“The contract for the survey work of the tunnel has been awarded to ATINOK India Consultants. The company has started the survey work and will submit its final proposal in a year’s time,” Chief Engineer of Project Hirak Vimal Goswami said.
The Rs 2,000-crore project could begin in four-five years, he added.
“The BRO has kept the border road from Bundi to Garbiyang single lane in view of the proposed tunnel, while the rest of it is going to be double lane,” Goswami said.
According to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officer, the border road that was commissioned in 2020 is being black-topped and double-laned these days.
Most of the double-laning work has nearly been completed, he said.
ALSO READ | Massive Chinese build-up near Doklam rings alarm bells in Indian military
Earlier in April, the Indian Military expressed serious concerns over massive construction by China in the Amo Chu river valley in Bhutan. Amo Chu abuts the strategic Doklam plateau, from where India’s Siliguri corridor is in the direct line of sight of China’s PLA.
Pictures accessed exclusively by INDIA TODAY show the PLA’s permanent habitation for its troops along with communication towers in Amo Chu. Close to 1,000 permanent military hutments as well as multiple temporary sheds have come up in recent months to house thousands of PLA troops.
The relations between India and China nosedived after the 2020 Galwan valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Both the countries have held several rounds of military talks to solve the border tensions with India emphasising that relations with China cannot be back to normal unless border issues are solved.
Amid the impasse, China has sought to push a narrative that the situation in Ladakh is generally stable and the two countries should move towards normalisation.
ALSO READ | Satellite pics of new bridge, expanding villages signal permanent Chinese occupation in Doklam