India is preparing to take up an ambitious project to build 1,800 km of highway along the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh that divides it from China, according to several reports today.
Obviously aimed at countering Chinese territorial aggressiveness and particularly its building up infrastructure on its side of the line, the proposed Indo-China frontier highway will be monitored by the union home ministry and will run parallel to the China border.
The government is also planning an industrial corridor in Arunachal Pradesh, which also happens to be the parliamentary constituency of minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju.
The home ministry has set the ball rolling, having asked the ministry of road transport and highways to prepare a detailed project report, including costs.
The proposed highway is estimated offhand to cost over Rs40,000 crore. It will pass through Tawang, East Kameng, Upper Subansiri, West Siang, Upper Siang, Dibang Valley, Desali, Chaglagam, Kibito, Dong, Hawai and Vijaynagar in bordering areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
The government has already relaxed environmental clearances for border area projects.
"The aim is for seamless travel from one part of the state to another. As the terrain is not smooth along the border areas, we will intersect the highway with tunnels so that the link is not broken anywhere," said a senior MHA official.