A parliamentary standing committee has recommended a thorough overhaul to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to improve roads and infrastructure along the disputed border with China. The frequent incursion by the Chinese People's liberation army has forced India to launch a massive programme to upgrade infrastructure along the China border, especially in the Arunachal Pradesh region.
English daily, Hindustan Times reported that the Parliament's standing committee on external affairs presented a report on India-China ties and highlighted the "inadequate infrastructure including roads" along the border and reported that there is a "distinct feeling that BRO as an organization with antiquated rules of delegation needs a thorough overhaul.
The Shashi Tharoor-led panel said that it was "perturbed...that despite marked progress in recent years, the border road infrastructure on the India-China border is grossly inadequate, as confirmed by its own observations from its visits".
It said that in many critical sectors India is "dependent on single access routes, a risky proposition in times of conflict."It further added that "Worse, many roads are not built to withstand military traffic. Chinese had specifically taken advantage of this in the 1962 war and therefore we ought to draw lessons from the past on this matter."
It is to be noted that the BRO draws its officers and personnel from the Indian army and is responsible for building and maintaining roads in the border region. The committee argued that the BRO should work to "achieve full connectivity" and the centre should "significantly enhance the level of priority it gives to border roads" against the backdrop of last year's standoff with PLA at Doklam.
President of the centre for China Analysis and Strategy, Jayadeva Ranade said that the progress along the Chinese border has been snail-paced even after it was approved way back in 2005-06.
He said, "The Border Roads Organisation's work has been extremely slow and there is a need to look at new construction technology and involving the private sector, including foreign firms if necessary, in building this infrastructure."