New Delhi: After the Pentagon report revealed that China has built a large village in a disputed area in Arunachal Pradesh, the Centre on Tuesday confirmed the huge build-up in the Tibet region to the Supreme Court saying that the Army needs broader roads to move heavy vehicles up to the India-China border to avoid a 1962 war-like situation.
What’s the situation along the border ?
As per the information shared with the top court feeder roads including those from Rishikesh to Gangotri, Rishikesh to Mana, and Tanakpur to Pithoragarh, leading up to the northern border with China connect Army camps at Dehradun and Meerut. These stations have bases where missile launchers and heavy artillery are stationed.
The Centre noted that the Army needs to be ready for any exigency and cannot be caught napping like in 1962. The apex court observed that all development has to be sustainable and balanced with the defence of the nation and protection of the environment. It said the court cannot gauge the preparedness of the defence needs of the country.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who has appeared before the bench for the Centre said the Army needs better roads due to the recent developments at the India-China borders. “There has been tremendous build-up on the other side of the border. They (China) have ramped up infrastructure and built airstrips, helipads, roads, railway line networks which proceed on the assumption that they are going to be there permanently,” he said.
He also asked for modification of the September 8, 2020 order which had asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to follow the 2018 circular stipulating carriageway width of 5.5 metre on the ambitious Chardham highway project which goes up to the China border.
The crucial 900-km project is focused on ensuring all-weather connectivity to four holy towns—Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath—in Uttarakhand.
Venugopal said, “Army’s problem is that it needs to move troops, tanks, heavy artillery and machinery. It should not be like in 1962 the ration supplies were made on foot up to the China border. If the road is not two-lane then the purpose of having a road is defeated. Hence double laning should be permitted width of 7 metre (or 7.5 metre in case there is a raised kerb).”
The top court stressed that it cannot ignore the fact that China has developed infrastructure on the border up to the hilt and Army needs better roads up to the border which has not seen any radical changes since the 1962 war.
(With PTI inputs)