New Delhi: In the wake of the unprecedented ongoing India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, New Delhi is pushing for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as far as production of defence equipment is concerned, to make the armed forces ‘self-reliant’.

Importantly, India has also renewed its push for building infrastructure in border states and union territories, especially with an aim to provide smooth movement for the military all-round the year.

Sources have now said that the country is planning to build 10 tunnels in high-altitude areas of Ladakh and Kashmir regions with this objective. These tunnels are expected to have a total length of more than 100 kilometres.

The development comes just weeks after the inauguration of the strategically important Atal Tunnel, which reduces the travelling time between Manali and Leh and provides an opportunity to the Army to move men and machine to border areas faster.

It was reported by news agency IANS that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has tabled a proposal to build eight tunnels which will vastly improve all-weather connectivity to Ladakh and Kashmir, as well as to crucial forward areas in both the UTs.

Sources said some of these tunnels could be built at an altitude of 17,000 feet.

One of the tunnels, 7-km long Khardung La Tunnel, will connect Leh with the Nubra Valley, a strategically important area in Ladakh that borders both China and Pakistan.

Another 8-km long tunnel, to be built at an altitude of 17,580 feet, will connect Karu with Tangste in Ladakh and provide all-weather connectivity to areas near the Pangong Tso (lake), which is one of the friction points where Indian and Chinese Army troops are sitting eye-to-eye.

Other tunnels which have been planned include one on the Nimmu-Darcha-Padam Road, through the Shnku La pass; another at Zojila Pass; and one that will provide alternate connectivity to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh – both areas on which China has set its eyes.

Then there are other tunnels that are proposed to come up on the Manali-Leh highway: at Baralacha Pass on the Manali-Sarchu road, at Lachung Pass, and at Tanglang Pass.

It may be noted that India’s infrastructure development in Ladakh has already irked China which had recently refused to recognise “illegally set-up union territory”. India responded by reminding China not to interfere in its ‘internal matters’ like New Delhi does.