00:38 GMT +316 December 2017
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    India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) gestures while talking with China's President Xi Jingping during the BRICS leaders' meeting with the BRICS Business Council at the Taj Exotica hotel in Goa on October 16, 2016

    Newly Opened Bridge Provides Indian Troops Swift Access to Chinese Border

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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's longest bridge, the 9.15-km-long Dhola Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra River in Assam State, on Thursday. The bridge will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh by some six hours and by 165 kilometers in distance.

    New Delhi (Sputnik)  The bridge cost some $310 million to build and is made up of approximately 33,000 tons of steel. The aerial distance from the bridge to the Chinese border is less than 100 km. It is designed to facilitate the quick movement of troops and artillery from army bases in eastern India.

    "This bridge enhances connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and opens the door for economic development on a big scale," Modi said at the opening. 

    It is not known whether the Indian Defense Ministry will come up with defenses to protect it from, for example, a pre-emptive airstrike by China, should the nations come into conflict.

    "This bridge, which is a strategic target for the enemy, can be destroyed using long range tactical missiles. This is despite tactical missiles not being so accurate for bridges. If the enemy uses an airstrike, then also this target is safely far away from their airfields, but they can use the air force…. This bridge, during war time, will be protected by air defense systems. Nowadays, air defense systems are automated so they can easily pick up enemy aircraft and destroy them," retired Major General Ravi Kumar Arora told Sputnik.

    Using this bridge, India can swiftly move forces from the Panagarh military base in West Bengal. Panagarh will be the base station for the 90,000-strong Mountain Strike Corps that is being raised by Indian Army specifically with an eye to any conflict with China. The Mountain Strike Corps at Panagarh will deploy M777 howitzers.

    "Even if the bridge is damaged, during war time we will have replacement material to bridge that damaged gap in a very swift manner. The enemy will require lots of resources to destroy this strategically important bridge," Arora added.

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    target, strategic highway, longest, bridge, Narendra Modi, Arunachal Pradesh, State of Assam, China, India
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