New Delhi: The government on Tuesday decided to set up a committee of secretaries to fast-track implementation of infrastructure projects along the border with China, in a move that came amid the 34-month-long border row in eastern Ladakh.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after reviewing the progress in construction of various infrastructure projects on the northern border areas.
In his remarks, Singh called for expediting all pending projects on "top priority", stating that the "whole of nation" approach should be adopted in matters of national security, the defence ministry said.
"To fast-track the pending projects, it has been decided to set up a committee of secretaries which will meet at frequent intervals," it said.
The meeting was attended by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Railways, Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Power Minister RK Singh, Environment Minister hupender Yadav and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu, his counterpart from Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami, Ladakh Lt Governor Brig BD Mishra (Retd), Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Army Chief Gene Manoj Pande and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane were also among the attendees.
"Reviewed extensively the progress in construction of various infrastructure projects along the northern border at a meeting in New Delhi today. Expediting all pending projects is on top priority," the defence minister tweeted.
Following the eastern Ladakh border standoff, the government stepped up efforts to build roads, tunnels, bridges, permanent defences, helipads and habitats for troops along the nearly 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).
"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi on March 14 to review the progress in construction of various infrastructure projects on the northern border areas," the defence ministry said.
"The defence minister called for expediting all pending projects on top priority, stating that 'whole of nation' approach should be adopted in matters of national security," the ministry said in a statement.
Defence Minister Singh has been personally monitoring implementation of various infrastructure projects along the northern border.
With a focus on boosting border infrastructure, the capital outlay for the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been increased to Rs 5,000 crore in the Union budget for 2023-24 as against Rs 3,500 crore in 2022-23.
The allocation marked an increase of 43 per cent.
The Indian Army is also focusing on enhancing infrastructure along the LAC following the eastern Ladakh row.
From construction of roads, bridges and ammunition depots to bolstering its surveillance apparatus, the Army is ramping up military infrastructure at a rapid pace for quicker mobilisation of troops. PTI