In a major move, the government has finally begun work on the country’s most challenging and strategic project next to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the frontier highway in Arunachal Pradesh. The first tenders for construction of the project have been invited by the government on January 4, 2023 with an aim to complete it by 2027.
Strategic Importance of the Project
The firs tenders invited by the government which have been reviewed by an Indian media agency are worth nearly Rs 2,200 crores. They are constructing an important highway stretch having of 121 km between Hunli and Hayuliang adjacent to the LAC, a 17 km long strategic bridge between Hunli and Ithun and a 13km road from Tutin to Zido. The nearly 1700km long frontier highway project in Arunachal Pradesh will be a strategic major project that will help in military movement to the LAC at the same time keeping a hawk (eagle eye) on Chinese activities across the border.
China has objected to this project in 2016, hence this is India’s answer to the China’s moves. The Arunachal Frontier Highway will connect Dirang-Tawang Road, Nafra, Lada, Bameng, Chayentajo, Sarli, Damin, Parsi Parlo, Tali, Taliha, Siyum, Mechuka, Tato, Payum, Tuting, Singa, Dibang Valley and Anjaw onwards up to Vijaynagar. Once fully ready, it will provide connectivity from Bomdila near Tawang, next to the LAC to Vijaynagar near the Myanmar border. The entire cost of the project will be Rs 27,000 crores.
Arunachal Pradesh MP and Union Minster Kiren Rijju said earlier: “One of my biggest dream projects to connect all of remote border locations of Arunachal Pradesh is approved. This is one of the toughest and biggest projects (border roads projects in Independent India.”
Infrastructural Push In Arunachal Pradesh
The Frontier Highway is a part of a greater, big road infrastructure push in Arunachal Pradesh by the Narendra Modi government in recent years in an effort to counter and tackle China’s designs in the LAC. Recently, ahead of his retirement, the Eastern Army Commander Lt General Rana Pratap Kalita had told an Indian news agency that India was late to development along the LAC, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, but have made giant strides in the las ten years. “The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is a little ahead than us in some areas as they started early and we were late. Now huge emphasis has been given and I am sure that we will do much better within a year. It is not a race, but we will do well is what I can say what I can say based on the massive efforts being put in.
The Frontier Highway in the northeastern part of Arunachal Pradesh along the China border would be in addition to the Trans Arunachal Highway running through the middle of a state and Arunachal East-West Corridor. The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has also been on an over drive in Arunachal Pradesh and had rolled out plans to build four key border roads in Arunachal Pradesh totaling near 300km and sought Detailed Project Reports (DPR) on them.