Tuesday, September 05, 2006

India to Build 27 New Roads Along Border with China as Part of Development Plan

As reported by the Associated Press

India plans to build 27 new roads along its 3,225-kilometer (2,015-mile) -long border with China over the next six years to develop infrastructure in the remote frontier districts, a state-run television channel said Monday.

The roads are expected to cost around 9 billion rupees (US $195.6 million), Doordarshan India reported.

The road construction is part of the Indian Home Ministry's larger plans to develop 94 districts that lie along India's borders with five of its neighbors -- China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal.

Developing better road links is also aimed at boosting the economic development of these areas and promoting a sense of security among people living in the far-flung districts, the news report said.

Decades of chilly relations between India and China have thawed in recent years as the two Asian giants have launched a peace dialogue to resolve their long-standing boundary dispute.

China and India fought a border war in 1962 and have since sparred verbally, mainly over Indian fears of China's growing military strength.

China is also a longtime ally and weapons supplier to Pakistan, India's bitter rival.

The presence in India of 120,000 exiles from Tibet, including the Dalai Lama, also remains a source of tension between New Delhi and Beijing.

But trade is bringing the two sometimes uneasy neighbors closer. India and China recently opened a border pass after a gap of 44 years to boost trade.

Also, the two countries have expanded economic ties, including plans for joint collaboration in oil exploration and information technology.