India’s border projects progressing unhindered: Antony


New Delhi: India has not succumbed to pressure from China to stall its border infrastructure projects, Defence Minister A.K. Antony informed parliament Monday.

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Antony gave an emphatic “no” as the written reply to questions in the Lok Sabha whether the activities of China had stalled several developmental works going on in the border areas of the country.

The question was asked by 32 members of Lok Sabha representing various political parties including the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena.

However, Antony said India is “closely watching” all developments on the other side of the borders in China and the government reviews the threat perception regularly.

“Government is aware that China is undertaking infrastructure development in the border regions opposite India. Government is closely watching all developments on the borders and reviews the threat perception regularly,” he said.

He also assured the members that required measures are being undertaken to upgrade the capabilities to the desired defence preparedness to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India.

Of the 73 roads identified as strategic border roads, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was entrusted with 61 roads totalling 3,394 km in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Of the 61 roads, 15 roads of 563.87 km have been completed and works are in progress on 44 roads. On two more roads, work is yet to commence.

Of the 3,394-km roads, 2,562-km formation and 1,794-km surfacing works have been completed. Since 2006-07, the BRO has utilised Rs.1,891 crore for the road works.

The government was also constructing new rail lines of Sevok-Rangpo (44.39 km) and Murkongselek-Pasighat (30.617 km) and gauge conversion of Rangiya-Murkongselek (511.88 km) in the North-Eastern region in areas close to the international border with China.

“Government is closely monitoring all developments in our immediate and extended neighbourhood which have a bearing on national security,” Antony said to a question on intrusions by Chinese forces and helicopters in the recent months.

Noting that there is “no commonly delineated” Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, he said there are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of LAC.

Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of LAC due to perceived difference in alignment of LAC, he added.

“The areas along the LAC are kept under constant surveillance by regular patrolling by troops and other means. Specific incidents of transgressions due to differences in the perception of LAC are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanisms such as hot lines, flag meetings, border personnel meetings and normal diplomatic channels,” he added.