India late in infra development along LAC, now catching up: Lt Gen RP Kalita

India late in infra development along LAC, now catching up: Lt Gen RP Kalita

Guwahati, Nov 21 (PTI) Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita on Tuesday said India started late compared to China in developing infrastructure along the border between the two nations, but it is now 'catching up' with the progress of the neighbour.

The Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief also said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is 'normal but some amount of unpredictability' is there.

As a 'Guest of Gauhati Press Club', Kalita said, 'They (China) started constructing infrastructure much before us. We are slightly as a nation late in commencing construction of infrastructure but now we are catching up.' There has been tremendous effort in developing infrastructure all along the border with China, whether it is in Ladakh or Sikkim or Arunachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand or Himachal, he added.

On how prepared Indian forces are compared to their Chinese counterparts, Kalita said, 'Our preparation in the last two decades has been tremendous... The terrain on the Indian side is difficult due to the mountain range, while it is a plateau on the Chinese side.' He said the government is building roads and tracks for basic connectivity and helipads for mobile communication.

'As part of the vibrant village programme, India is creating a lot of infrastructure in the villages which are close to the LAC so that basic facilities like education, healthcare are available,' Kalita said in freewheeling interaction on a wide range of topics.

On the current situation in the border areas between India and China, he said, 'Regarding the LAC in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, the situation is normal, but some amount of unpredictability is there. Problems will remain until the issue is resolved.' India-China border is not a settled border and is not demarcated on ground, leading to difference in perceptions, he added.

'What we assume as our border and what they assume as their border -- there is a difference in that perception. That leads to a certain amount of escalation. We would like to carry out domination which we know as our own. Then a certain amount of confrontation takes place,' Kalita said.

He, however, said almost all issues in the Eastern sector have been resolved through the established mechanism like flag meetings and hotline talks.

'Because of the border not being demarcated, people in those difficult areas go for hunting and herb collection. That is when they inadvertently cross over to the other side. Then we resolve through the established mechanism and bring them back,' the Lieutenant General said. PTI TR TR MNB

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