New Ddelhi: The Sino-Indian border standoff along LAC in eastern Ladakh is expected to be “resolved peacefully very shortly”, the chief of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) S S Deswal has said, adding that the infrastructure along the LAC is also being ‘ramped up at a rapid pace’, reported Indian news agency, PTI.
In a wide-ranging interview to the news agency, Deswal, when asked about the current military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh said “strains in bilateral relations are already evident but we are confident these will be sorted out peacefully very shortly.”
Authoritative sources in the report on Wednesday said that India and China have “broadly agreed on a three-step process on disengagement of troops and withdrawal of weaponry from all major friction points in a time-bound manner”.
The protection of the Sino-Indian border is undertaken by ITBP patrolling which may extend up to 30 days, said Deswal, who leads the 90,000-strong mountain-warfare trained force.
On beefing up border infrastructure, Deswal said the work to raise new border posts and to connect them with all-weather roads is progressing at a fast pace.
‘About 75 per cent of the ITBP border posts are now connected by roads’, he added.
The ITBP, raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, has about 180 posts all along the 3,488-km-long LAC that stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh on India’s eastern flank.
“There is a government focus for creation of good border infrastructure so that the local population as well as the forces are able to reach all remote parts of our own territory as close to the border as possible.”
“The pace of construction of roads is very fast now. In the last few years, many roads have been constructed. Initially, when ITBP was raised the patrol party used to go on foot from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldi(DBO) and it used to take more than a month to reach there,” Deswal said. The distance between Leh and DBO is about 250 km.
From that stage today, he said, almost 75 per cent of the ITBP posts are now connected by roads on the entire border.
“With the same pace of road construction in the next 5-6 years, we hope that all our posts will be well connected by roads,” he added.
Deswal also said the government has recently sanctioned 47 new border posts (BoPs) to the ITBP along the entire LAC and their effort is to establish several of them by 2021.
“Majority of these new border posts will come up in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. We have already identified the sites and the state government is willing to transfer the sites to us…it is in a very advanced stage and we are progressing every day,” he said.
When asked if the ITBP has sought fresh battalions and manpower to man these posts, Deswal said:
“By the time we have the physical infrastructure on the ground the force is expected to have additional manpower”.