Date :16-Mar-2023

THE Government has expressed a firmer resolve to fast-track infrastructure projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It has decided to form a Committee of Secretaries to push such projects towards faster implementation and quicker completion. This approach will certainly increase the pace of execution of infrastructure projects along the sensitive border areas with China in particular. By any definition, this is a welcome development. This development also endorses further the decision taken by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his Government nine years ago that border area infrastructure projects would be undertaken and completed on a priority basis so that the benefits of development are available to people living in far flung areas in tenuous conditions. Accordingly, the Government started making higher budgetary allocations and much work got started on such projects.
However, China started taking objections to such projects -- though without any justification and logic. It was China’s -- and tried to threaten India with military action by mobilising its troops on its side of the border. Paying no heed to such objections for the work undertaken under its own sovereign authority, India just ignored the Chinese pressure and went ahead with the developmental work. Mostly, these infrastructure projects relate to building of road-and-bridge network, plus other entities that would facilitate the developmental projects for people’s benefit. The Chinese intentions are obvious -- to attempt stopping the Indian developmental advancement. The tacit intention of the Chinese is to block the Indian effort so that the Indian Armed Forces would not be able to make swift movements in times of armed conflict. India, naturally, chose to pay no heed to the Chinese objections.
This was not happening in the early decades of India’s Independence when the Government chose not to disturb the Chinese, and therefore avoided giving priority to the border-area development. In the process, successive Governments in New Delhi also sacrificed their right to ensure better troop-movement in border areas. The Modi-Government, however, started rewriting the unstated protocol and gave emphasis on border-area development. Though much progress has been made in the past nine years since the first initiative was introduced, Modi-Government has realised that the progress in that regard has been slow. Hence the new step of forming a Secretary-level committee to oversee and push the border area infrastructure development projects. In the past nine years of the two successive Narendra Modi regimes, India has achieved a higher growth in the areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It now intends to add a greater push to that effort -- which will prove to be a game-changer for India in the next few years.
One obvious benefit will be for the common people living in those areas. The second benefit will be for the quicker movement or deployment of Armed Forces -- which would deter the Chinese misadventures to a great extent. In fact, such an initiative should have been taken long decades ago by the Government. But owing to their lack of courage, earlier governments chose not to disturb the Chinese, and therefore gave credence to Beijing’s objections. However, the situation has now changed -- which is evident from the Government’s approach to infrastructure development in border areas. Not just the Indians, but also the international community has noted this positive change that has come over India in the past nine years. The Indian response, thus, has created a positive reaction in the world.