JAMMU, Feb 11: India has conveyed to China in categoric terms that it was going to expedite construction of infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and that it shouldn’t try to disrupt it taking the excuse of un-demarcated boundary as it had done on some previous occasions.
Official sources told the Excelsior that India’s point of view was conveyed to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officials during series of meetings between Sino-Indian military officials at the Border Meeting Points on the LAC.
This time, according to sources, the Chinese attitude was very positive and they indicated that the PLA wouldn’t object to construction activity on the Indian side whenever it was taken up provided that it (the construction work) didn’t obstruct the activities of Chinese troops.
Sources said the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs, whose troops and para-military personnel—the Army and ITBP—cover the LAC along Eastern Ladakh, have decided to undertake large scale construction activity along the LAC for benefit of troops manning the LAC.
“The major focus was on construction of roads right up to the posts of the Indian Army and the ITBP to ensure free and easy access to the troops to carry out their activities along the LAC including deployment of men and machinery. The budgetary approvals for the construction works stand granted,’’ sources said, adding that the initial reaction from the Chinese Army was very positive as they were not averse to construction activity within the Indian side.
Earlier, the Chinese PLA and even the people used to object construction of road networks along the Indian side and many a times there had been standoff between the two neighbours over construction on the Indian side. However, the standoffs have now come to an end even as the Indian troops and para-military were carrying out regular work along their Border Out Posts (BOPs).
Sources said the Home Ministry has identified several BOPs of “strategic security importance” —including Chushul, Chumar, Daulat Oldie Beg, Thaksung, Burste, Chung Tash and Hot Spring—to be linked by road with the capital Leh directly to help the ITBP personnel in free and easy movement of not only their jawans but the infrastructure.
Most of the BOPs are in remote areas with no road connections and are accessible only by air.
Sources said the Centre Government had given nod for infrastructure development for forward posts along the LAC but the process was delayed as the Government wanted to take China on board so that the works once started were not objected.
This will ensure faster movement of both man and machine particularly during a crisis situation and will act as a deterrent for the PLA personnel, sources said.
Sources admitted that connectivity and access to some of the forward posts along the LAC were a huge problem presently in the Eastern Ladakh and the Government of India wants to overcome it.
“The Government wants to ensure that these projects of strategic importance are carried out in a time-bound manner, and there should be greater accountability for it,” sources said.
Worthwhile to mention here that the Centre has already cleared a proposal to procure sophisticated weapons for the ITBP, including Beretta assault guns, long-range sniper rifles, night vision devices, telescopic equipment and micro and unmanned aerial vehicles.
“The procurement process is also in the final stages now. Most of this equipment will go to the ITBP deployed in the Leh region as this is one of the most sensitive sectors,’’ sources said.
The Indian and Chinese military officials have been holding regular meetings along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and during these meetings also, the Army officials have conveyed to the PLA that India would take up the construction activity on its own side for free and easy movements of its troops and the ITBP personnel.