Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday dedicated to the nation 75 infrastructure projects including bridges, roads and helipads built at a cost of Rs 2,180 crore in strategically key areas of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim among others.
He inaugurated the projects at a function held at the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DS-DBO) road that provides connectivity to India's northernmost outpost of Daulat Beg Oldi in eastern Ladakh.
The highlight of the event was the onsite inauguration of 120-metre-long 'class-70 Shyok Setu' on the DS-DBO Road at an altitude 14,000 feet, the defence ministry said.
The bridge will be of strategic importance as it will facilitate logistics movement of the armed forces. Other projects inaugurated virtually by Singh included two helipads, one each in Hanle and Thakung, in Eastern Ladakh, it said.
These helipads will enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force in the region. The rest of the projects were inaugurated virtually by Singh.
The 75 projects included 45 bridges, 27 roads, two helipads and one 'Carbon Neutral Habitat' and they are spread across six states and two Union territories.
Twenty of the projects are in Jammu and Kashmir, 18 each in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, five in Uttarakhand and 14 in other border states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Speaking on the occasion, the defence minister reaffirmed the government's commitment to ensure the progress of far-flung areas to fulfil the security needs of the country.
Singh noted that infrastructure development along with the valour of the armed forces was the main reason that helped India effectively deal with the recent situation in the northern sector, in an apparent reference to Indian military's response to Chinese PLA's aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh.
He termed the new 75 projects as a testament to that "resolve" and said that these bridges, roads and helipads will facilitate military and civil transport in far-flung areas of the western, northern and north-eastern parts of the country, forming a part of the "development chain".
"Lack of infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir for decades post independence was one of the reasons behind the rise of terrorism in the Union Territory. These internal disturbances resulted in significant decline in tourist footfall that impacted Ladakh also, as well as the entire nation" Singh said at the event.
He described connectivity with border areas as one of the focus areas of the government for the holistic development of the nation.
"Now, due to the government's efforts, the region is witnessing a new dawn of peace and progress. Our aim is to continue with the development of all states/UTs of the country," Singh added.
He said all the remote areas will be connected with the rest of the country soon and "together we will take the nation to newer heights of progress. BRO has a crucial role in achieving this objective".