The construction of 11 more tunnels in Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim and Southern Tibet (India-called Arunachal Pradesh) is now on the drawing board after 'a strong endorsement’ by the Army.
India is finally kick-starting the plan to build as many as 18 tunnels along the borders with Pakistan and China for faster troop mobility as well as storage of critical war-fighting assets like missiles, without the threat of detection by enemy satellites and spy drones.
While preliminary work on seven tunnels is underway after requisite approvals, the construction of 11 more tunnels in Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is now on the drawing board after "a strong endorsement" by the Army.
The Indian army wants the tunnel construction plans in the mountains in J&K and north-east to be fast-tracked.
"The tunnels will provide shelter to troops and ammunition from both enemy shelling and extreme weather. They can also be used for NBC (nuclear, chemical, biological) protection and establishing command and control centres," said a top official.
Actual construction work is underway only in one of the 18 proposed tunnels. But, this long-delayed 8.82-km long horse-shoe shaped tunnel under the 13,400-feet Rohtang Pass, on the Manali-Sarchu-Leh axis, is unlikely to meet its completion deadline of February, 2015.