Match China on border infrastructure, Rajnath tells BRO
Development of border areas a major part of India’s Defence strategy, says Defence Minister
Photo Credit : Ministry of Defence,
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing personnel of Border Roads Organisation virtually on its 63rd Raising Day
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has directed the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to close the gap with China in creating border infrastructure to enable the armed forces to effectively counter the military challenge on India’s frontiers.
“The Chinese presence has increased in the Northern sector in the recent past. Due to their proficiency in construction in mountainous areas, they manage to reach different places very quickly. The BRO must continue to work in parallel and focus on increasing their capability with full use of technology,” the Defence Minister said on the 63rd Raising Day of the organisation. He asked the BRO to be mindful of the requirement of speed, urging strengthening of border infrastructure at a faster pace.
Mentioning the 40 per cent increase in the capital budget of BRO to Rs 3,500 Crore in Financial Year 2022-23, Singh emphasised that development of border areas is a major part of the Government’s comprehensive defence strategy.
Development of border areas will bolster the security apparatus of the country and bring a positive change in the lives of people residing in remote areas, the Minister said, stressing that people's participation is a key part of the defence strategy.
“The more empowered the people of border areas become, the more aware and concerned they will be about the security of those areas. Citizens are the greatest power of a Nation. Therefore, with changing times, we are committed to move forward for the development of our border areas. It is our top priority to provide maximum facilities to those who work round-the-clock for our security,” the Defence Minister said.
Underlining the criticality of roads, bridges & tunnels in the progress of a nation, he said the projects completed by the BRO have enhanced the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces and improved the socio-economic conditions of the people living in far-flung areas.
“Infrastructure development in border areas is an indicator of the Government’s unwavering commitment to build a strong, secure and self-reliant ‘New India’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,” he said.
Raised in 1960 with just two projects - Project Tusker in the East and Project Beacon in the North - the BRO has today become a vibrant organisation with 18 projects in various states. It has constructed over 60,000 kilometres of roads, over 840 bridges, four tunnels and 19 airfields under adverse climatic and geographical conditions along India's borders as well as in friendly foreign countries, contributing towards India’s strategic objectives.
In the year 2021-22, a total of 102 infrastructure projects - 87 bridges and 15 roads - were completed by the BRO - the most in a single year. This included construction of Atal Tunnel in Rohtang – the world’s longest highway tunnel at a height of above 10,000 - and the world highest motorable road over Umling La in Eastern Ladakh.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Director General Border Roads (DGBR) Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry and other senior officials of BRO were present on the occasion.