Why in News?

In a key move aimed at improving all weather connectivity and enabling the swift movement of Indian troops to Arunachal Pradesh bordering China, PM laid the foundation stone for the Sela Tunnel Project.

Sela Pass Tunnel Project:

  • The tunnel covers a total distance of 12.04 kms which consist of two tunnels of 1790 metres and 475 meters.
  • It is being built at an estimated cost of ₹687 crores by the Border Roads Organisation.
  • It aims to provide all weather connectivity to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh — an area claimed entirely by China — and other forward areas.
  • Once built it will cut travel time to Tawang by at least an hour for Indian troops stationed
    in adjoining Assam’s Tezpur town — the headquarters of the Indian army’s IV Corps.

Strategic Importance:

  • The lack of motorable roads and rail connections in India’s northeast and Arunachal Pradesh in particular were seen as distinct disadvantages for India vis a vis China in the region.
  • Analysts had been warning of China building infrastructure including access roads right up to the Indian border that would give it a strategic advantage in any conflict with India.
  • Once completed this would result in all-weather connectivity to Tawang and forward areas and reduction in more than one hour of travelling time from Tezpur to Tawang.
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