Monday, July 6, 2020

Himachal governor worried over state’s China border, asks centre to strengthen infrastructure

Shimla: Amid tension on the India-China border, Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya has written to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, suggesting precautionary measures relating to the state’s border areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts that share boundaries with China.

In a letter, he said these areas are strategically important as they lie adjacent to China and amidst the tension between China and India, they need more attention.

“The state shares more than 260 km boundary with Tibet and China and therefore, we need to be suitably prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

The modes of communication and road transport in these remote border areas of the state should be strengthened.

He said at present only one independent brigade of the Indian Army has been deployed at Pooh and suggested that in future the deployment of the army might be increased to an independent mountain division.

The Governor said adequate arrangements must be made to tackle drones from China as and when required.

Dattatraya said there was an urgent need for an airstrip in the Spiti area for prompt deployment of forces in the border areas in case of need and this airstrip would act as an advanced landing ground.

“The state police is trying its best and the Superintendents of Police of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti have visited villages in the border areas and interacted with the people to build their confidence and ensure their safety.

“However, similar continuous efforts need to be undertaken by central intelligence agencies, the Indian Army and the ITBP to instill a sense of security and confidence among the people living in the border areas,” he said.

The Governor said the Atal tunnel under the Rohtang Pass, which connects Manali in Kullu district with Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district, is likely to be completed soon.

The commissioning of the tunnel would allow year-round traffic on the Manali-Leh axis, thereby significantly increasing road traffic.

He said on account of its strategic importance, adequate arrangements for intelligence, security and maintenance of this axis round the year need to be made in advance.

He hoped these suggestions once implemented would strengthen India’s position on the India-China border and would also generate confidence among the local people.

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