The tussle triangle between USA, China and Taiwan are making the headlines. China threatened America with military action over Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. According to China, Nancy Pelosi's coming to Taiwan without properly informing China is a violation of China's 'One China Policy'. This conflict in the Indo-Pacific region will involve India directly or indirectly which might lead to Sino-India war 2.0. India and China's tussle has been going on for decades to become the Asian superpower and as a result there are weak diplomatic and geopolitical relations between these countries. So the question arises that if a war-like situation crops up, is the Indian Tiger ready to face the Chinese Dragon in the battlefield?
Indian forces displayed brilliant courage and strength during the Sino-India war in 1962, but Indian forces had to face big losses in terms of life of our jawans. According to some Defence experts and politicians, the big losses India faced was due to weak defence infrastructure, old and outdated defence equipment and low military expenditure. Compared to China, weak road, rail, and air connectivity had held India behind China at every step. For the first time, the Government felt the need to give importance and develop proper defence infrastructure in the border areas. From the Indira Gandhi Government to the Narendra Modi Government, every Government tried to strengthen the defence sector of our country. In today's era of modern warfare, the country's defence infrastructure decides whether that particular country will win or lose in any war. Even basic elements like rail and road connectivity are enough to keep you ahead of your enemy as these amenities help in mobilizing troops to remote and strategic locations. Speed of mobility nowadays has become an important aspect of war. In a war-like situation, the speed of ammunition supply or food supply can be the determining factor of life and death of the soldiers fighting the war. Currently, China is more advanced in terms of road and railway connectivity in the border areas. China has highly upgraded its roads and railway lines in its border areas with India. In the last few years, China has developed a road network of more than 3000 km in and around the Indian borders. Moreover, they have started upgrading the villages around Arunachal Pradesh so that they can be used as shelter if any war takes place. China even started work on the G695 highway in the disputed Aksai Chin area which heated up the atmosphere between India and China. China is rapidly developing its road and railway infrastructure near the border areas which is posing a threat to India's national security.
The Indian Government has already started taking steps to tackle this issue. The Government has taken a decision to revive 44 important roads which will act as a lifeline for the troops in the border areas. One such road, i.e., the Chisum-Demchok road constructed near Umling La pass, has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for being world's highest motorable road. According to a report by the Minister of State for Defence, Ajay Bhatt, in the last five years the Government of India has spent Rs 20,767 crore for the development of 3595 km of road near the border areas of Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. Out of this, Rs 20,767 crore, Rs 15,000 crore was provided for infrastructure development of the borders adjacent to China, through which 2,088 km of roads can be developed in these areas. The Chinese activities near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have increased recently and so India started working on the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO old road so that the conflict-prone areas can be reached at the earliest. By December, 2022 BRO (Border Roads Organization) is going to develop 61 strategic roads in the border areas of China. The Government of India also decided to improve its railway infrastructure looking at China's intensive railway infrastructure development in the border regions. In 2018, the Centre approved four strategic rail lines in the border areas including the 378-km-long Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line and the 498-km-long Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line. When all of these railway projects are finished, India will be able to deploy its military along with arms and ammunition in border regions like Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim twice as quickly as China does. The development of tunnels and bridges, like roads and railway lines, has also been an area of major focus for the Indian Government. According to a Government report, in the last few years BRO has developed 24 new bridges in some areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Although developing roads, rail lines, tunnels and bridge related infrastructure in these areas was extremely necessary, but looking at the difficult topography of these areas, building proper air defence infrastructure could prove to be a game changer for India in the war against China. In this regard the Indian Government has boosted the development of helipads, airports and landing strips in those remote areas. The Government of India has developed 31 new airports suitable for landing of fighter jets, carriers and choppers. Moreover, the Indian Government has started installation of 4G and 5G infrastructures above 18,000 feet at LAC border areas and the project is expected to be completed by 2023. Reliance is going to set up its first 4G tower in the Spangmik Village of the Ladakh region.
Although critics say that India is way behind China in border warfare readiness, the Indian Government is doing its part in upping the game in border and defence infrastructure upgradation. The Centre has liberalized FDI norms in the defence sector and has started funding indigenous technology projects and acquiring latest technologies from other countries. If ever the clouds of war thunders in the Indian skies, then our Army, the Government and most importantly the citizens of our country need to be prepared to give a stern reply to the Chinese forces. And in this regard, our border and defence infrastructure needs to be more developed and upgraded for enhancing the safety and security of our motherland.