India's ability to launch a military counter-offensive against China received yet another boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Donyi Polo Airport in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. This will help the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to operate along the border with Tibet

Itanagar: As you travel along the smooth, metalled roads high amongst the rugged mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, at regular intervals you will see heavy military vehicles including trucks and towed artillery trudging their way towards India’s border with Chinese-occupied Tibet.

There are very little signs of the severely potholed mud pits that used to pass off as roads a few years ago in this remotest corner of India.

As you listen to the accounts of local villagers, who claim that journeys that used to take upwards of of 20 hours previously have been reduced to just 5-6 hours, you begin to appreciate the magnitude of the Herculean task that has been achieved with typical military precision by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) whose signs are dotted along the highways across the length and breadth of Arunachal Pradesh.

This remarkable change has come about over the last few years as the Indian government discarded its defensive and rather ill-conceived idea of leaving the roads of the north-eastern states underdeveloped in fear of yet another invasion by China similar to that of 1962.

This has greatly improved the ability of the Indian Army to counter any threat by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China in Aruanchal Pradesh. India’s ability to launch a military counter-offensive against the Chinese received yet another boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Donyi Polo Airport in Itanagar last week.

The new airport, which is expected to boost trade and tourism in Arunachal Pradesh, will be able to accommodate four Mi-17 helicopters, allowing the Indian Army to conduct operations in a more effective manner. The supply of rations and ammunition to remote border posts and the evacuation of ill or injured soldiers can now be carried out with greater ease.

With a tarmac that can accommodate three Airbus A320s,the Donyi Polo Airport could also be used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in case of another war with China.

The Donyi Polo Airport, which is the first greenfield airport in Arunachal Pradesh, has been developed in an area of over 690 acres, at a cost of more than Rs. 640 crores. With a 2300 m runway, the airport is suitable for all weather day operations.

The development of the Donyi Polo Airport in Itanagar is not only expected to improve connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and the north east, but to also act as a catalyst for the growth of trade and tourism, thus providing a boost to the economic development of the region.

This is expected to generate jobs for the local youth, integrate them into the national mainstream and wean them away from the plethora of militant groups in the northeast.