Amid the continuing tensions with China in Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday inaugurated 27 roads and bridge projects, most of them along the Indo-Tibetan border.

These projects included a road at 19,000 feet in eastern Ladakh and one near the sensitive Doklam area in Sikkim.

The projects are critical for better connectivity to border areas and will also ramp up infrastructure in remote areas.

Among the border projects, three roads and 24 bridges were inaugurated virtually -- five are in Ladakh, nine in Jammu and Kashmir, three in Uttarakhand, five in Himachal Pradesh and one each in Arunachal and Sikkim.

Alternate Road To Doklam

The Flag Hill-Dokla road, which is 33 km long, is one of the most crucial stretches that have been made motorable. This will reduce the travel time for Indian troops to reach Dokla area near the Doklam plateau where a 73-day standoff took place between Indian and Chinese armies in 2017.

The road is at 11,000 feet and is double laned. It has class 70 bridges, which means it can take a weight of up to 70 tonnes which can facilitate movement of tanks.

This is an alternate route to the border areas near the India-Tibet-Bhutan tri-junction where China has been aggressively ramping up military infrastructure.

Earlier, there was just one route to Dokla from the Bheem Base completed in 2018.

Rajnath Singh described the indigenous Double-Lane Modular Bridge as a shining example of ‘Atmanirbharta’ (self sustainability) and appreciated the fact that it has been developed at a much lower cost and can be dismantled, if need be.

“It is an important milestone on the path to achieve ‘Make in India’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It is a symbol of the government's resolve to provide faster connectivity to border areas. It will also pave the way for the construction of more bridges in such areas,” Rajnath Singh said.

Road At Umling La (Pass) 19000 Feet

The 52-km-long road connecting Chisumale to Demchock, cutting through the Umling La (Pass) at 19,300 feet provides an alternate route from Leh to the strategically important Demchock.

Not only will the road be critical for military movement, it will also give a boost to tourism in the area.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the road at Umling-La pass will enable faster movement of Armed Forces, boost tourism and ensure socio-economic development of the region.

“The main highlight was the inauguration of India’s first indigenous Class 70 140-feet Double-Lane Modular Bridge, built at the height of 11,000 feet at Flag Hill Dokala, Sikkim and Chisumle-Demchok road at Umling La Pass at over 19,000 feet in Ladakh which also holds the Guinness World Record of world’s highest motorable road,” the defence ministry said.

The defence ministry said the e-inauguration has taken the tally of infrastructure projects executed by BRO to a record 102 in a single working season, that too in the 75th year of India’s Independence.

The BRO has completed construction in a record timeframe, with state-of-the-art technology used in most of them. Earlier in June this year, Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation 12 roads and 63 bridges totalling 75 projects - in 75th year of Independence under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.