November 21, 2012

Fast-track China border projects: Antony to Army

Reviewing the development of new infrastructure including airfields along the China border in the northeast, defence minister A K Antony on Monday asked the military top brass to go beyond the expected schedules for completion of the projects "in view of the current security scenario".

"We need to go beyond the PDCs (proposed date of completion) in view of the current security scenario," Antony told a meeting to review infrastructure development on the northeast border. The meeting was attended by chiefs of the Army and IAF, defence secretary, the chief of BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and other senior officials.

Antony did not discuss the leadership change in China or any other specific inputs that may indicate any further sharpening of Chinese attitude along the border. However, his warning to the top brass is a clear sign of the Indian establishment's increasing worry over the secretive rise of Chinese military power without any clarity about its intents and future plans.

"Now that the initial teething issues have been overcome to a large extent there is a need to give a push to the ongoing infrastructural projects in northeast," an official quoted Antony as saying. He asked the forces and other agencies to move forward in a time bound manner.

The minister setup a monitoring committee under the vice-chief of the IAF, and comprising representatives from the MoD and other arms, to constantly monitor the revival of advance landing grounds and other airfields. While eight advanced landing grounds are under revival in the northeast, over 30 airfields primarily for helicopter operations are also being developed or revived.

Antony ordered a separate review meeting with BRO top brass of their projects in the region. Presently, India is undertaking construction of 73 roads in all three sectors bordering China. Of them, 29 roads in Arunachal were to be completed by 2012 but only eight are ready, sources said. Monday's meeting focussed on the northeast, especially Arunachal Pradesh.

Antony asked minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh to take up all issues related to environmental clearances and other bottlenecks with states and departments concerned. 

Times of India

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