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New Delhi: The stand-off with China which has entered its third winter, and India is on a massive infrastructure build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The highlight would be a 3-D printed permanent defences that can withstand a direct fire by a T-90 tank from mere 100 metres.

Permanent defences includes static fortified bunkers, observation posts, forward munition depots among others.

Sources in the defence establishment said that modern and state-of-the-art habitat and technical storage have been constructed in Eastern Ladakh in the last two years to cater to 22,000 troops besides approximately 450 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and guns.

Sources said these were movable habitats, many of which have also come up as high as 18,000 feet.

They added that focus has now shifted to the construction of Permanent Defences and infrastructure to improve preparedness in the extant working season apart from completion of ongoing projects.

These defences are 3D printed and have undergone various trials, the sources said. They said the product has been made by start-ups of ex-students under the guidance of IIT, Gandhinagar.

“The 3D printed permanent defences can withstand a direct hit from a T-90 tank firing 100 metres away,” a source explained.

They added such defences would come up along the entire LAC and not in Eastern Ladakh.

The project is set to take off next year once the winter subsides, sources said, adding the maximum weight of each part is 40 kg and that a team of two to three soldiers could set it up easily.

They also said the Army was in the process of inducting a new family of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines and that orders had been placed for 7 lakh of a particular variant.

Army goes for more tunnels and bridges along LAC

Talking further about the beefing-up process along the LAC, sources also mentioned that 150 kilometres of operational tracks had been constructed in the Northern Command, including permanent works like drains, surface and causeways constructed concurrently to enhance longevity.

They added a road would provide alternate connectivity to Western Ladakh and the Zanskar Valley directly from the Manali axis. It is a 298-km road that will be completed in 2026.

The road also includes a 4.1-km twin tube Shinkun La tunnel for providing all weather connectivity, which is likely to be approved by the Defence Ministry soon, sources said.

They added work was also on to upgrade the bridges on DS-DBO road, which would be completed middle of next year.

The Army has also pushed for massive road and tunnel construction in Ladakh as well as Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to strengthen its capability to quickly launch an operation and sustain forward troops.

Sources also said trials for constructing ‘assault bridges’ such as the Sarvatra and PMS in high altitude area have been carried out for the first time ever in Eastern Ladakh.

Besides this, several small tunnels and underground ammunition depots are being built, they said.

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.

BRO Projects

There are at present 18 Border Roads Organisation (BRO) projects spread across the country.

BRO 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 once completed. Eleven more tunnels are also under planning,” sources said.

They added 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.

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