Ahead of the India-China informal summit this month, India has opened up an alternate road which will make it easy for the armed forces to move faster than before in the Doklam area. This is the same spot which had witnessed a 73-day standoff between the armies for both sides in 2017. In the opinion of experts, this new road does not solve all problems, but was a necessary and long overdue step.
Reports indicate that the Chinese are building up its storage of ammunition and construction of more roads including helipads which would help in faster deployment in that area.
Comparing India’s infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU, says that 'India has a difficult and poor infrastructure, which means it always had greater difficulty in moving forces to the border. With better infrastructure we may be able to move forces to border and shift them around different areas on the border (as needed), improving the country’s defence capabilities.'
'China always had better access to LAC partly because of the terrain (plateau), and also because it has put money into border infrastructure. This allows them to move rapidly and bring their military forces near the border,' Mr. Rajagopalan adds,
The roads, constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), will also be used to reach the boundary tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. And will also provide strategic advantage to Bhutan.
According to sources in the Indian Army, the road is very much inside the Indian side of LAC and the BRO has been given 72 roads to construct in the area. In 2005, India had decided to reverse its decision of not building roads near the LAC and these had to be completed by 2012. However, this deadline has been extended to the end of 2019. Covering over 3,346 km, the BRO so far is in the process of constructing around 61 roads along the border.