Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Saturday to use technology to develop infrastructure at a faster pace, citing how China has increased its presence in the northern sector by conducting construction activities in mountainous areas.
Singh also stated that border development is an important part of the government's "comprehensive defence strategy," noting that it will strengthen the country's overall security apparatus.
He also said that providing maximum facilities to those guarding India's borders is the government's top priority in an address to commemorate the BRO's 63rd raising day.
"In recent years, China's presence in the northern sector has increased. They are able to reach different locations quickly because of their expertise in mountainous construction," the defence minister said.
"The BRO must continue to work in parallel and focus on increasing their capability with full use of technology," he said, adding that the government is doing everything possible to provide the BRO with the necessary support.
India has been focusing on improving infrastructure along the over 3,400 km-long line of actual control since the eastern Ladakh face-off began in May 2020.
In his remarks, Singh mentioned the recent announcement of a 40 per cent increase in the BRO's capital budget to Rs 3,500 crores in the fiscal year 2022-23, reiterating the government's commitment to the country's security and border development.
He assured the BRO of his full support, not just financial support.
"The more empowered border residents become, the more aware and concerned they will be about the security of those areas." "The greatest power of a nation is its citizens," Singh said.
"As a result, as the times change, we are committed to moving forward with the development of our border areas." "It is our top priority to provide the best possible facilities to those who work around the clock to ensure our security," he said.
The BRO was also lauded by the defence minister for opening "new doors of security and prosperity." "not only in the areas, but throughout the country BRO, he said, is more than just a construction company; it is a shining example of unity, discipline, dedication, and duty. He stressed the importance of roads, bridges, and tunnels in a nation's progress, saying that the BRO's projects have improved the armed forces' operational readiness and the socio-economic conditions of people living in remote areas. "The government's unwavering commitment to building a strong, secure, and self-reliant 'New India,' as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is reflected in infrastructure development in border areas." "Singh explained.
Border areas have emerged as "new centres of development," he said, and regions like the Northeast are not only developing but also serving as a "gateway" for the country's overall progress. The northeast region, according to the defence minister, connects India to South Asia and Southeast Asia. He also praised the BRO for promoting tourism in remote areas through its 75 cafes and tourism portals, noting that these initiatives are emblematic of the organization's continued growth.
BRO Director General Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry exhorted BRO personnel to continue on the path of excellence with renewed vigour and dedication in his address. He urged them to complete critical tunnel and airfield construction projects as soon as possible.
The defence minister also unveiled two software systems developed by the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics, the BRO Resource Management System and the BRO Budget Management System.
The software will automate resource distribution and utilisation, as well as the BRO's budget. The BRO was established in 1960 with only two projects.
According to the defence ministry, the organisation has built over 60,000 kilometres of roads, 840 bridges, four tunnels, and 19 airfields in adverse climatic and geographical conditions along India's borders as well as in friendly foreign countries.
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