To Prepare for China, India Must First Beat the Himalayas

India rushes to bring infrastructure to remote border areas
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 5:07 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Indian man recently hiked for seven hours over treacherous terrain to hand deliver a can of diesel fuel—just enough for soldiers on the disputed India-China border to run a generator for 10 hours. This was not an unusual occurrence. The Wall Street Journal takes a fascinating look at India's race to tame the eastern Himalayas and build a 34-mile road to a border town 8,000 feet above sea level. Taksing is located in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, most of which is also claimed by China as South Tibet. There's no electricity in Taksing and no road to it. Supplies for Indian troops stationed there have to be delivered by helicopter, but weather makes those deliveries unreliable; hence the hand-delivered diesel.

India is rushing—one official says they "have shifted gear"—to bring infrastructure to Taksing and the rest of Arunachal Pradesh in order to move troops, supplies, and weapons in the case of war with China, which is way ahead of India in terms of border infrastructure. Despite doubling its budget last year, the project isn't easy. Bulldozers have to be broken down into nine pieces, with the pieces flown 200 miles by helicopter one at a time. Monsoons in the area last half the year, the mountain faces are unstable, and locals have attacked laborers brought in to work on the project. And that's not even mentioning the Chinese soldiers who entered the disputed area last month. "You never know what will kill you," says one 20-year-old worker. Read the full piece here. (Read more India-China relations stories.)

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