India is constructing massive infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The highlight would be 3-D printed permanent defences capable of withstanding direct fire from a T-90 tank from 100 metres away. Permanent defences include, among other things, static fortified bunkers, observation posts, and forward munition depots.
According to defence sources, in the last two years, modern and state-of-the-art habitat and technical storage have been built in Eastern Ladakh to accommodate 22,000 troops as well as approximately 450 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and guns. Many of these habitats were mobile, reaching altitudes of 18,000 feet.
Apart from the completion of ongoing projects, they added that the focus has now shifted to the construction of Permanent Defenses and infrastructure to improve preparedness in the current working season.
These defences are 3D printed and have been tested numerous times. The product, they claimed, was developed by ex-student start-ups under the supervision of IIT, Gandhinagar.
According to sources, the project will begin next year after the winter, with the maximum weight of each part being 40 kg and easily set up by a team of two to three soldiers.
They also stated that the Army was introducing a new family of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines and that orders for 7 lakh of a specific variant had been placed.
Army Goes for More Tunnels and Bridges along LAC
Further sources said that 150 kilometres of operational tracks had been built in the Northern Command, including permanent works such as drains, surface and causeways that were built concurrently to increase longevity. They also stated that a road would provide direct access from the Manali axis to Western Ladakh and the Zanskar Valley.
It is a 298-kilometer road that is scheduled to be completed in 2026.
The road also includes a 4.1-kilometer twin tube Shinkun La tunnel for all-weather connectivity, which is expected to be approved by the Defense Ministry soon. The work was underway to upgrade the bridges on the DS-DBO road, which would be completed by the middle of 2023.
The Army has also advocated for massive road and tunnel construction in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim in order to strengthen its ability to launch an operation quickly and sustain forward troops.
According to sources, trials for the construction of ‘assault bridges’ such as the Sarvatra and PMS in high altitude areas have been conducted for the first time in Eastern Ladakh. Aside from that, they said, several small tunnels and underground ammunition depots are being built.
Interestingly, due to the induction of modern new-landing crafts and fast patrol vessels in both Eastern Ladakh and Sir Creek, sources said patrolling has increased including in the crucial Pangong Tso.
At present, there are 18 Border Roads Organisation (BRO) projects spread across the country. It has constructed more than 60,000 km of roads, 693 major permanent bridges totalling a length of 53,000 metres, 19 airfields and four tunnels running a distance of approximately 19 km. This includes the Atal Tunnel, which holds the world record for being the longest tunnel (9.02 km) in the world above 10,000 feet and for being the World’s Highest Motorable Road over Umlingla.
Presently, the BRO is constructing nine tunnels, including the 2.535-km long Sela tunnel, which will be the highest bi-lane tunnel in the world. Eleven more tunnels are also under planning.
The construction of two airfields at Barrackpore and Bagdogra in West Bengal is at an advanced stage of completion. In addition, BRO has been recently entrusted with the task of constructing one of India’s highest airfields at Nyoma, in southern Ladakh.