Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will hold consultations with the chief ministers of five Himalayan states in Gangtok on Saturday to discuss development of roads, bridges and other infrastructure along the 3,488 km-long China-India border. This is the first time such a meeting is being held by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The move comes days after India refused to participate in the Belt and Road initiative in Beijing and a month after the diplomatic tussle with China over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
The Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are expected to attend the meeting. Construction of roads along the China-India border, redressal of the situation arising from the lack of infrastructure in frontier areas and a host of other issues will be discussed, an official said.
China is known to have improved its infrastructure along the border by constructing roads, bridges, railway networks and airports.
India shares a 3,488-km border with China along the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The length of the border in Jammu and Kashmir is 1,597 km, Himachal Pradesh 200 km, Uttarakhand 345 km, Sikkim 220 km and Arunachal Pradesh 1,126 km. The border is not fully demarcated and the process of clarifying and confirming the Line of Actual Control is in progress.
The border areas located at high altitudes have inadequate infrastructure facilities. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) guards these borders and have established 173 Border Outposts (BOPs). There are 35 BOPs in the western sector (Jammu and Kashmir), 71 in the middle sector (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand) and 67 in the eastern sector (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh).