BEIJING, (APP)::China should be alert and reinforce infrastructure along the China-Indian border, experts said, after reports say India plans to build 17 highway tunnels for easy military mobility.
India plans to construct 17 highway tunnels totaling 100 kilometers along its line of control, some of which are under construction. Boosting border infrastructure has been Indian’s consistent policy, Xie Chao, an expert at Tsinghua University’s Department of International Relations, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said, “The tunnel building along the border is a further fermentation after the Doklam standoff.”
On June 18, Indian troops illegally crossed the border and trespassed into Chinese territory in Doklam. Although some Indian senior officials made a friendly gesture toward China after the standoff, India has pursued its previous policy along the border developing infrastructure as well as troop mobility, Zhao said.
The Indian government is playing two cards over the border issue, the situation of which will be a “new normal” for the China-India border, he added. According to news reports, the tunnels will largely reduce the distance to the border and is accessible in any weather. This will lead to troops and adequate supplies even during winter when snow blocks key roads. They would be able to quickly reach strategic locations in case of a Doklam-like standoff or a future conflict.
During the Doklam crisis, India deployed close to 10,000 additional troops along the China border in Ladakh. Due to the long-term tensions along the border and the fact that India increased their army presence there, creating a troop imbalance, China shall also remain alert and boost infrastructure accordingly, experts said. “It is the Chinese government’s responsibility to safeguard border safety and China won’t take the initiative to seek military force to tackle border problems. But a balanced force along the border will make China cope with the tensions,” Xie said.