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Doklam effect: Army to strengthen road work along India-China border

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

Nathu La

Following the Doklam fiasco, the Army has decided to focus on road construction activities along the India-China border areas.

It is also considering allotting additional funds to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for Northern Command to develop roads and infrastructure.

“It has been decided that there will be a concerted heft toward road construction activities in this sector. To that end, four passes to Niti, Lipulekh, Thangla1 and Tsangchokla will be connected by 2020 on priority,” Director General Staff Duties (DGSD) Vijay Singh told reporters here on Friday.

The decisions were taken at the ongoing Army Commanders’ Conference being held here from October 9-15.

This is the first such meet after the over two-month military stand-off with China over the latter’s attempt to build roads near Bhutan’s Doklam plateau in the vicinity of the tri-junction area.

At the conference, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed on the need for the Army to enhance capability and build capacity in a time-bound manner. She also highlighted the need to guard against “inimical forces.”

Self-reliance

Referring to the Make in India programme, Sitharaman stressed the need to make the defence sector self-reliant.

Addressing the conference, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Bipin Rawat said the Army has to be prepared for “all eventualities at all times” and, therefore, the utmost priority had to be given to procurement of arms, ammunitions and equipment.

“Our approach to the procurement process needs to be balanced with focus at the right places,” the DGSD said, quoting Rawat.

During a session addressed by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, issues such as expediting acquisition projects, defence land, military stations and the Defence Establishment Bill, 2014 were also discussed.

In an effort to modernise military stations and bringing them on a par with the Centre’s Smart City plan, the Army has sought allocation of 15 per cent additional funds for five years.

The total cost of about ₹8.5 crore per military station will be required for the project.

Published on October 13, 2017

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