New Delhi (Sputnik) — Months after the Doklam conflict with China, the Indian Army has set out a time-bound infrastructure development plan along the 2,167-mile-long Line of Actual Control (the de facto border). As part of the plan, the construction of four mountain passes — the Niti Pass, Thangla Pass, Lipulekh Pass and Tsangchokla Pass will be completed by the end of 2020. All four passes are situated either in Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh bordering China.
"These four passes will be connected by 2020 on priority. The decision has been taken in the Army Commanders Conference. Additional funds to the Border Road Organization for Northern Command will soon be allotted for the proposed road construction," Indian Army Lt General Vijay Singh, the director of general staff duties, said.
The Niti pass will be approximately 25 kilometers long, connecting the Niti village in Uttarakhand to the Chinese border. Lack of infrastructure has forced villagers to migrate to other areas leaving the region vulnerable to Chinese incursions. The Thangla Pass is situated at the height of 4,850 meters above sea level and it connects Uttarkashi to the Chinese border.
Last week, Indian defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the forward areas along the Chinese border. She visited places like the Nathu-la mountain pass by road. After returning to Delhi, she assured the army that the development capabilities of the Indian armed forces would be taken up with priority and also promised close monitoring of improvements to "strategic infrastructure, and long pending force modification requests."
Later in the same month, the Indian Defense Ministry had delegated more power to the chief engineers heading the Border Roads Organization (BRO) in order to avoid delays on account of references between the chief engineer and the BRO headquarters and also between the headquarters and the Ministry of Defense.