In a notable declaration regarding India’s border infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, S Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs, has underscored the critical significance of infrastructure development in fortifying the nation’s security.
Addressing a select group of journalists on Monday, Jaishankar highlighted the transformative shift in India’s strategic approach since 2014 and the government’s unwavering commitment to enhancing both the quality and coverage of its border infrastructure.
“Transitioning into 2014, our primary focus lay in the construction of infrastructure and the establishment of road networks,” EAM Jaishankar conveyed. He emphasised that the absence of sufficient infrastructure could compromise the effectiveness of the Indian Armed Forces’ operations in the demanding terrains along the LAC. Jaishankar indicated that the swift deployment of Indian troops in 2020 during the border dispute in eastern Ladakh was facilitated by the development of roads, bridges, and tunnels. He remarked, “Had a similar scenario arisen in 2014, we would have found ourselves at a considerable disadvantage. They invested in infrastructure while we did not match their efforts.”
The second major security challenge arose along the Myanmar border, where the unrest in Manipur disrupted progress on the trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar, and Thailand. The civil disturbances in the Arakan region, involving the Rohingya crisis, have already impacted India’s significant project in the Northeast – the operationalization of the Sittwe Port.
“The operationalization of Sittwe Port raises concerns… the trilateral highway (India-Myanmar-Thailand) confronts substantial challenges due to the prevailing law and order situation,” Jaishankar noted.
The minister also discussed recent initiatives, including plans to establish rail connectivity with Bhutan, establish a petroleum pipeline and land bridge with Sri Lanka, and create pipeline and rail links with Nepal.