Eye on China, MoD plans airstrip in Spiti

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 10

In the wake of tensions along the India-China border, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given the green signal to the state to pursue the issue of construction of an airstrip at Rangrik in Spiti. The airstrip would act as a landing ground in case of any exigency.

In a letter to HP Governor Bhandaru Dattatreya, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said National Highway No. 5 would be widened up to Pooh in Kinnaur district. He further said the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways be consulted for funding the construction of the road beyond Kunzam Pass to boost tourism in the region.

Rajnath also said the intelligence network should be boosted with coordinated efforts of the Army, ITBP, Ministry of Home Affairs, Border Roads Organisation and state government. He also laid stress on the security of the Atal Tunnel.

On July 27, the Governor had written a letter to Rajnath, observing there was an urgent need to have an airstrip in the Spiti valley to act as an advance landing ground and developing helipads in forward areas. He had also sought a robust tele-communication network in border villages.

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