With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by Ray, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    With an eye on China, India speeds up infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh

    Facing Chinese threat on the eastern border that recently saw deep incursions by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Centre is finally paying attention to speed up the construction of eight Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) and road network in Arunachal Pradesh.

    Sharing 1,080 kilometre-long strategically important border with China, Arunachal is one among the only two states — the other being Sikkim — that doesn’t have either rail or air network with the rest of the country. Due to difficult terrain, the road network leading up to the border areas is either very bad or doesn’t exist at all.

    On the other hand, China, having the advantage of the Tibetan plateau, has built up excellent connectivity right up to the border.

    The eight ALGs that India wants to construct and make operational expeditiously are located in strategically important areas of Aalo, Ziro, Mechuka, Tuting Walong, Passighat, Vijoynagar and Tawang.

    Conceding the ever present Chinese threat, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki said, “Out of these eight ALGs, surfacing of Vijoynagar, the southernmost border point in Arunachal, has already been done and is made functional. Tenders for all other ALGs barring Tawang have been floated by the Government of India and construction will start in October this year.”

    Apart from Tawang, all the other ALGs will have the facility of operating fixed wing aircraft. The ALG at Tawang will operate only rotary helicopters. Besides serving as key landing points for Indian defence forces in times of need, three of the eight ALGs – Aalo, Passighat and Ziro — will also help boost tourist traffic to Arunachal that has immense tourism potential.

    Apart from the ALGs, Arunachal Pradesh government is also working hard to operationalize two civilian airports – one at Tezu in Lohit district and another one, a bigger airport at Holongi, some 15 kilometre from capital Itanagar.

    Ideally, Arunachal Pradesh would have got its first airport at Banderdewa near Itanagar but for technical reasons – the site allowed only one single way landing and take-off air strip.

    “We have identified 400 hectares of land at alternative site of Holongi. Hopefully, the airport will be completed by 2015,” Tuki said.

    dna special: With an eye on China, India speeds up infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh - India - DNA

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    Better late than never!

    These ALGs will surely be suitable for the C 130s for timely strategic airlift.
     
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  3. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: With an eye on China, India speeds up infrastructure in Arunachal

    The key challenge will be building roads & railways upto the border posts, very essential for movement of troops and materials in large quantity in short time... We had an elaborate plan for developement with BRO, hope to see them implemented soon...
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    Well, we always hear about plans, but rarely do we hear about completion. Too much hope and hoopla.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    I think that the ALGs will be built by GREF and so there is some certainty that they will fructify beyond mere wishful thinking.
     
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  6. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad


    Sir Could you Please tell the Basic works about GREF ..

    One of my Classmates Husbands Works in Army's GREF
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    GREF stands for General Reserve Engineer Force .

    They construct and maintain border roads. They look after about 33,000 kilometres of roads and also

    They are involved in 18 Projects and are also responsible for clearing landslides, avalanches and snow slides

    They have worked in foreign lands such as Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Bhutan.

    The Delaram-Zaranj Highway in Afghanistan, was constructed by an officer of mine who worked as GE when I was the Station Commander. His team completed and handed over this Highway to the Afghan government during 2008.

    The are working on the tunnel under the Rohtang pass.
     
  8. nirranj

    nirranj Regular Member

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    Sir, can the ALG's handle fighter planes as well??

    Will the ALG's have refueling facilities as well?? or they will be used to just land the Heavy transport aircraft with supplies?

    Why Don't we go for Air bases?
     
  9. Tenzin

    Tenzin Regular Member

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    The road infrastructure in Arunachal is pathetic. The so called road widening is going on for years. Also the problem here is the rainfall which causes landslides and blocks the roads. These is very frequent here.
     
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  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    IDSA COMMENT
    Strategic Road-Building along the India-China border

    Namrata Goswami

    One of the most strategic landscapes for India is the northeast of India. The region shares a 4,500 km international border with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The 1,080 km border with China across the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast is disputed, a dispute that led to a war between India and China in 1962. While the 1962 war did not escalate beyond a border war, the cause of the war, a disputed border, has not been resolved as yet. Besides a disputed border, China also claims 90,000 square kms of territory in the northeast; which includes the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh. To China, the state of Arunachal Pradesh is significant for two strategic reasons. First, Arunachal Pradesh borders Tibet. Tibet is one of the most uncomfortable political issues for China given the continuous Tibetan and international questioning of its legitimacy there. China fears that the Tibetan-government-in exile in India could use Arunachal Pradesh as a base to provide external support to the Tibetans in Tibet to resist the Chinese occupation. Secondly, Arunachal Pradesh is home to the second most important monastery of Tibetan Buddhism after Lhasa: the Tawang Monastery. The strong Tibetan Buddhist culture along the border districts of Arunachal Pradesh like Tawang and Upper Siang could provide the vital link to Tibetans inside Tibet looking for outside support. The presence of the Dalai Lama in India and his visits to the Tawang monastery for religious purposes further creates anxieties for China in this regard.

    To bolster its territorial claim and keep Tibet under its control, China has built up its military presence in Tibet with about 300,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops coupled with six Rapid Reaction Forces (RPFs) at Chengdu with the ability to reach the India-China border in 48 hours. Several airfields have also been established in Tibet, namely Hoping, Pangta and Kong Ka. Added to this is the massive road building projects undertaken by China in both Tibet and Yunnan right up to the India-China border with an approximate budget of $ 325 billion. Of critical value to China’s troop movement into Tibet is the 2000 km Qinghai-Tibet railway.

    Responding to the urgent need to build strategic roads along the India-China border, the Ministry of Home sanctioned Rs.1,934 crore on 4 June 2012 for strategic road projects of about 804 kms in order to support the operational movement of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along the India-China border, both in the eastern and the western sector. This includes the territory from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh covering about 3,488 kms of border. The task of building these roads have been given to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), and the National Projects Construction Corporation. Significantly, the Arunachal Pradesh 2005 Human Development Report identified infrastructure development as one of the key concerns of the state. This was followed up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s package of Rs. 24,000 crore in 2009 for building the 1,500 kms Trans-Arunachal Pradesh highway.

    One of the biggest obstacles to road-building in Arunachal Pradesh has been the Indian strategic mindset which viewed the lack of roads in the state as a defence mechanism to stop Chinese troop movement into India’s heartland if China did a repeat of 1962. This mindset continued to influence New Delhi’s policy towards Arunachal Pradesh right up to mid-2000. However, a more confident India with a strong economy could ill afford to neglect the aspirations of the people of Arunachal Pradesh for better infrastructure. There has been growing demand within Arunachal Pradesh for better roads, more robust Indian defence mechanisms, and better institutional structures. The first sign of a shift in the Indian defensive thinking about strategic roads came about in May 2006 when the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the construction of strategic roads in Arunachal Pradesh. This reversed the 1962 mindset. Moreover, India was also forced to respond to the rapid Chinese road building activities in bordering countries like Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. China established vital road-links with Nepal via the Kodari highway, which connects Lhasa and Kathmandu. With Pakistan, China is connected through the Karakoram highway. The Chinese presence in Myanmar is enabled by an open border in Yunnan. Roads have benefited Chinese economic activity in these countries and have also enhanced China’s influence in these states that are located along India’s borders. One must note that it is within the Chinese grand strategic matrix to rapidly increase economic ties in South Asia, an effort in which it has been successful.

    Besides, one of the biggest complaints of the 120,000 Indian troops stationed in the eastern sector is the lack of road infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh. In that light, the recent announcement of the road package by the MHA is a welcome sign. It now remains to be seen as to how fast the project gets executed. For instance, in 2006-2007, out of Rs.10 crore sanctioned for building border roads, only Rs. 1 crore was spent. In 2008-2009, the allocation of resources went up to Rs. 50 crore but only Rs. 9.1 crore was spent. The utilisation of funds has improved since 2009-2010 with the Rs. 334 crore sanctioned fully utilised that year. Despite that, the BRO, the main strategic road building organisation, indicated to this author during a field visit in 2011 to Arunachal Pradesh that it is an arduous task to build two-lane highways in such hilly and inaccessible terrain. Also, to get the necessary permissions to move the huge dozers for road-building to the interior mountainous areas by helicopter takes a long time. Moreover, the release of funds allocated for border roads takes more than two years to reach its destination, thereby affecting the morale and efficiency of the BRO. Inclement weather also creates havoc, with roads to the India-China border closing down due to landslides during the monsoon season.

    Despite all these obstacles, the roads have to be built given the criticality of defending the India-China border. One of the success stories in this regard has been the completion and inauguration of the longest bridge in Arunachal, the 720 metre Digaru Bridge linking Lohit and Dibang valley districts, on April 10 this year. Constructed by the BRO, this bridge will help both locals and the army to move faster. Strategic roads in Arunachal Pradesh will also play a critical role in defending the border against any future Chinese attack. If at all the Chinese escalate their posture, it will, at best, be a combined RRF and aerial move. Hence, India’s air defence structure must be robust and fully prepared taking into account Chinese capabilities and alternative war strategies. Given the present road conditions in Arunachal Pradesh, the physical movement of Indian troops to the border areas takes more than five to seven days. This aspect can be improved with the time taken reduced once the several announced road projects sees the light of day in the near future.

    Strategic Road-Building along the India-China border | Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: With an eye on PRC, India hastens infrastructure in Arunachal Prad

    India steps up efforts to build border infrastructure

    Ministerial group headed by finance minister on developing North-East is expected to meet soon

    Utpal Bhaskar

    Wed, Aug 28 2013

    Prodded into action by recent Chinese incursions into the North-East, New Delhi is stepping up efforts to develop infrastructure in a region it has traditionally ignored—and about time too, said a strategic analyst.

    The committee of secretaries (CoS), which until six months ago had not met since November 2011, has met twice since. And in July, the government created a ministerial group headed by finance minister P. Chidambaram on developing the North-East. It, too, is expected to meet soon.

    India and China faced off for 21 days in April over an incursion by Chinese troops into Indian territory. The two countries are yet to resolve a long-standing border dispute.

    “After a long hiatus, there has been a spate of meetings of the CoS and issues are being taken,” said a government official requesting anonymity. The secretaries in CoS include those from the departments of telecom, railways, defence, home, power, water resources, finance and the Planning Commission.

    Another government official familiar with the plans to expedite the creation of critical infrastructure in the region said, “While the CoS didn’t meet in the last two years since November 2011, it met on 26 February 2013 and 26 July 2013. This shows our sense of urgency given our concerns with our neighbour.”

    Former naval officer C. Uday Bhaskar, a fellow at New Delhi-based Society for Policy Studies, responded: “We have seen this pattern of episodic interest, whenever there have been exigencies. The ability of the collective Indian state to act in a sustained and collective manner is dwindling. The system has become an octopus with its many tentacles.”

    Some of the important projects planned for the region include the 670km East-West corridor, connecting state capitals with a broad gauge railway network, developing air transportation infrastructure such as a greenfield airport in Itanagar, and inland waterway development.

    The development of infrastructure in the North-East is also key to the nation’s so-called Look East policy—a focus on South-East Asia.

    “If India has to integrate with the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation grouping), it is critical to develop infrastructure in the North-East. An effective Look East policy can only work in the backdrop of effective connectivity,” Bhaskar said.

    Increasing connectivity in the region and linking it with Myanmar will help India access South-East Asian markets.

    China claims 90,000 sq. km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and occupies around 38,000 sq. km in Jammu and Kashmir that India claims. And under a China-Pakistan boundary agreement signed in March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to China
    .
    India and China have also sparred over hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the state that borders China and has the highest potential for hydropower generation in India. With China planning to divert water from rivers that flow into the Brahmaputra to the arid zones of Xinjiang and Gansu, India is worried about the slow pace of work on hydropower projects awarded in Arunachal Pradesh.

    Any delay in executing hydropower projects in the region, particularly on rivers originating in China, will affect India’s strategy of establishing prior-use claim. Under international law, a country’s right over natural resources it shares with other nations becomes stronger if it is already putting them to use.

    The ministries of water resources and power have already expressed their reservations over Beijing’s ambitious water diversion scheme, into which it is pouring $62 billion (around Rs.4 trillion today). China is building a number of projects on rivers upstream of the Brahmaputra.

    New Delhi has decided to fast-track environmental clearances for hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh. But projects totalling 13,522 megawatts (MW) in this strategically important state are awaiting environmental clearance, even though they have been given the go-ahead by the Central Electricity Authority, the country’s apex power sector planning body.

    The forest advisory committee has rejected forest land diversion plans for the 3,000MW Dibang multi-purpose project in Arunachal Pradesh and forest clearance to the 1,500MW Tipaimukh hydroelectric project in Manipur.

    India steps up efforts to build border infrastructure - Livemint

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    The Govt of India is now smelling the coffee!
     
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