Earlier this month, 44 new permanent bridges were opened in the border areas of seven states and union territories

India is paving the way towards better preparedness of its armed forces in the far-flung areas near its border, bringing these remote areas into the mainstream by boosting infrastructure and connectivity.

The latest example is the Alternate Alignment of the National Highway 310 from Gangtok to Nathula sector in Sikkim.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday dedicated the 19.85 Km Alternate Alignment of National Highway (NH) 310 from km 0.00 to km 19.350 to the nation. Constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the new alignment from Gangtok to Nathula is a step towards bolstering defence preparedness in the Sector as well as the whole state of Sikkim.

Singh, tweeting about the same, said, “I am confident that with your hard work and contribution, the social and economic development of the entire state will continue. I wish you all the best in the coming years to take up new challenges and to provide safe roads, bridges and tunnels to the people of Sikkim in time at a low cost.”

Congratulating the BRO on its achievement, he said, “The 19.85 Km Alternate Alignment of the National Highway 310 was dedicated to the nation today. This new alignment will bolster defence preparedness in the Nathula Sector. Congratulations to BRO for its unwavering commitment towards delivering outstanding quality infrastructure.”

Inaugurating the road, the Defence Minister highlighted the government's drive towards progressing infrastructure development in such areas. He said that these constructions are not just important to enhance defence preparedness but also for fostering socio-economic development of the region.

He said that the construction has been in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act North East Policy. He said the pace of construction of the alternate alignment, which had been held up since commencement in 2009, was speeded up over the last two years.

The Ministry of Defence later released an official statement saying that the construction of the alignment was necessary due to extensive damages and other natural hazards.

Rajnath Singh, on Twitter wrote, “The old alternative route, NH-310 is an area with huge landslides and potential for sinking. Due to this, in the rainy season, the people and army here have to face problems in movement. Now this 19.35 km alternate route NH-310 will be able to overcome these problems.”

According to Singh, the ministry is also working on various other plans in the state which include the upgradation of the border roads in Sikkim to double lanes.

In a tweet, he said, “The construction of 225 km double lane road to ‘Mangan-Chungthang-Yumesamdong and Chungthang-Lachen-Muguthang-Nakula is planned under the Bharatmala project in North Sikkim. These works are planned in 9 packages with an estimated cost of RS 5,710 crores.”

Most of the border roads of Sikkim are being upgraded by the BRO to double lanes. Out of this, 65 kilometres of road construction work is in progress in East Sikkim and 55 kilometres road construction is under the scheme, he said.

He said that the approval for package 1 is due soon. The remaining package’s Detailed Project Report (DPR) is in progress. In this project, remote areas of North Sikkim will be connected with modern technology roads. This will not only promote local and economic development but will also improve military readiness.

In the past few months, India has undertaken several construction projects in the mountain regions, especially those falling in the Himalayas. The Ministry of Defence in its statement said that the Atal Tunnel, DS-DBO Road, and the new alignment of NH 310 are examples of high quality, fast paced results delivered by the BRO towards strategic and operational preparedness.

“The BRO over the last some years has undertaken an unprecedented expansion of its capabilities through technology infusion in material, equipment and construction techniques,” it said.

Earlier this month, 44 new permanent bridges were opened in the border areas of India. They included eight in the strategic Ladakh region for its better connectivity in the remote regions. Among the new construction projects, a great emphasis has been laid on the North-Eastern part of the country.

These bridges are spread over seven states and union territories and are located mostly near the Northern, Western and Eastern borders. In addition to the eight in Ladakh, 10 were constructed in Jammu and Kashmir, two in Himachal Pradesh, eight in Uttarakhand, four in Punjab, four in Sikkim and eight in Arunachal Pradesh.

The ceremony also saw the foundation stone laying ceremony for the strategic Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh.

The government is also undertaking new construction activities for which it has increased the BRO’s budget to Rs 11,000 crore. Rajnath Singh in a tweet said, “The Prime Minister is regularly reviewing the progress of these projects and fund flow is being ensured at all times. The annual budget of the organisation, which used to be between three and four thousand crores till five-six years ago, has now reached 11,000 crores.”

India is continuing with the construction of structures and roads in the border areas despite consistent opposition by China, a country which has territorial disputes with almost every country in the Asia-Pacific region.