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    Chinese soldier stands guard on the Chinese side of the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China. (File)

    India to Lay Optic Fiber Communication Cables Along Border With China

    © AFP 2019 / DIPTENDU DUTTA
    Asia & Pacific
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    India's armed forces will be equipped with a new uninterrupted communication system in the difficult terrain of the Himalayas.

    India is considering revamping its decades-old communication systems in areas along the border with China.

    Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said in India's Parliament that he was seriously considering the suggestion of equipping the roads near the Indo-China border with an optical fiber network.

    India has identified 73 roads along the border as strategic Indo-China border roads; their total number's estimation is scheduled to be completed by 2020. Out of the 73 roads, 22 roads with an aggregate length of 707.74 km have already been equipped.

    Rumel Dahiya, Deputy DG, Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, says, "Communication is a big problem in higher altitude regions. If we want to make the communication foolproof, we have to go for optical fiber. Physical lines can very easily be dismantled or disconnected. As it is, they do not have much capacity to transmit large volumes of communication. Satellite communication is highly susceptible to various kinds of obstructions. Line of sight communication is not possible in the terrain along the Indo-China border. Communication between valleys is not possible as there are ridges in between. Therefore, optic fiber cables are not only important in strategic terms but equally important for civilian purpose."

    Of late, there have been a number of reports on the growing dissent among people living in India's northern border regions, which is attributed to the region's slow progress in infrastructure development in comparison with the Chinese side, where the infrastructure build up is massive.

    India hopes that by strengthening its communication facilities in those areas, such dissent will be negated.

    Indians living along the mountainous frontier regions currently rely on satellite communication, which is highly susceptible to obstructions caused by bad weather conditions. 

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