In a major push towards improving the road infrastructure along the international border, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday inaugurated 44 bridges to ease the movement of the armed forces in strategically important areas. The bridges are built in the border areas of Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab. These bridges have been inaugurated at a time when India is facing a massive standoff along the LAC with Chinese and Indian soldiers squaring up. These are very crucial infrastructures and will definitely help India’s preparedness along the border areas.
But one wonders whether these are enough. Large parts of border areas, especially in Arunachal, till today do not have proper road connectivity. Barring the Tawang sector, which has relatively better road connections, most parts of the LAC in the state have either zero connectivity or in some cases partial road connection. Not only roads, even mobile telecommunication is very poor these days. For a very long period, successive governments at the Centre have neglected road connectivity issues in Arunachal. Much was expected from the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, considering their nationalist pitch, but things have not changed much in the last six years. In fact, the condition of the roads in the state has worsened, especially in the western part of state. Most of the road projects, including the Trans-Arunachal Highway and PMGSY roads, have failed. If India wants to stand up to the Chinese might, first the road infrastructure along the LAC has to be improved drastically.