Indicating further government control over militarily sensitive border areas, India's defence minister Manohar Parrikar said late on Tuesday that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) will be brought fully under the defence ministry, and 'non-sensitive' roads in border areas will be handed over to the National Highways Authority of India.
Rebutting allegations that the Army was late in reacting to the 23 December attack by Bodo insurgents in Assam, which killed dozens of tribals, he said they had to wait for a request from the local administration before moving in.
"We were alert about the attack even before the news was flashed in the media. The armed forces stationed there were ready, but we had to wait for request from local administration," Parrikar said. "As soon as the local administration requested, we deployed the forces."
He did not explain why, if the government had already been alerted about the attack, it was not prevented. But in a knee-jerk reaction typical of the Indian administration, he added that said 73 columns of the army were now deployed in Assam - no doubt adding to the trouble of the innocent local populace.