Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is all set to give a tough time to China in the Northeast with the approval of big infrastructure projects in the state. The largest of these projects is a 14 km long underwater tunnel on the mighty Brahmaputra river, which will provide a big boost to the movement of troops and logistics to the border without any hindrance.
Speaking on the development, Himanta said, “A few days back I went to Arunachal Pradesh along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The Indian Army has planned to construct one more road connecting the Arunachal Pradesh-China border. Based on my discussion I want to say that, the Indian Army has now planned to construct a tunnel under the Brahmaputra river from Misa to Tezpur, so that, the movement of Army vehicles would not be stopped in any situation.”
He added, “Vehicular movement from Misa, a major army base (in Assam’s Nagaon district), to Tezpur on the north bank is solely dependent on the Kaliabhomora bridge over the Brahmaputra. If that gets attacked or damaged in the event of a conflict, it will be extremely difficult to access western Arunachal Pradesh by road. That is why this underwater tunnel had been proposed.”
The Modi government has been undertaking the development of border infrastructure at a break-neck speed much to the chagrin of China which prompted the latter to start a tense border stand-off at the LAC. The construction of a bridge on the Galwan River, whose construction was one of the major points of contention between the two countries, went ahead with full speed and has been completed, despite the bloody brawl on the night of 15th June, which claimed lives on both sides.
The Northeastern region of the country got stepmotherly treatment from the central government for decades. The connectivity to the region from other parts of India has been so poor that the capitals of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, and Nagaland still do not have railway connectivity. Only Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are connected through the giant network of Indian railways. The intra-region connectivity is also very poor due to many reasons, including difficult terrain and tough weather. The insurgency-inflicted law and order problem also barred the development of the region for decades. However, the biggest problem for intra-region connectivity in the region has been the mighty Brahmaputra River.
The 3,848 km long river is the main reason only three bridges were opened in the last seven decades. The Modi government has opened two bridges on the Brahmaputra River in seven years of its rule. The new Saraighat Bridge, built along the old rail cum Road Bridge was inaugurated by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in 2017.
Another major bridge opened by the Modi government is the Dhola Sadiya Bridge (also known as the Bhupen Hazarika Bridge) which connects the state of Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. This bridge is built on the Lohit River, a tributary of Brahmaputra, and is located on the northern corner of Assam near the border of China. This 9.15 km long bridge happens to be the longest bridge in the country and it will make the movement of civilians and as well of armed forces easy. The strategically located bridge is very important from the security point of view in the wake of Chinese activities in Arunachal Pradesh.
Now the government is all set to undertake the underwater tunnel project in cooperation with CM Himanta. India could give a befitting reply to China only if it has a solid infrastructure in the region for the movement of its armed forces to fight mighty Chinese forces. The infrastructure development in the region is also important from the civilian point of view, as it will make the life of people in the regions a bit easier.
The previous governments feared developing infrastructure in the Northeast due to massive difficulties faced at the Brahmaputra river but the Modi government has opened three bridges and planned five more. Brahmaputra river is no longer a hindrance to the development of Northeast India.