The Government of India is reportedly planning 100km of tunnelling along the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC), escalating tensions with neighbours China and Pakistan.

India Today reported that the new tunnels in the region are aimed at ensuring swift movement of military and civilian vehicles in Ladakh and Kashmir.

Officials of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which develops and maintains road networks in India’s border, proposed the construction of eight tunnels to improve connectivity to Ladakh, as well as similar projects in the LoC region for Kashmir.

Some of the tunnel proposed by the BRO officials are at heights of more than 17,000ft.

The proposed tunnels are said to be necessary in the region for ensuring all-weather connectivity.

A BRO official was quoted by India Today as saying: “Without tunnelling, all-weather connectivity is not possible because of the heavy snow. The tunnels have been planned keeping in mind the need for road connectivity to the forwardmost locations.”

BRO proposed a tunnel for an alternate route to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) at 17,800ft high, as well as a tunnel at an altitude of more than 17,580ft between the Nubra Valley and Leh. It also proposed tunnels on the Manali- Leh highway.

Amid the ongoing border disputes with China, the Government of India has stepped up its construction activities along the border, despite objections from Chinese officials.

The Chinese officials claim that the projects are very close to LAC, but the Indian Government explained that there are no violations of existing protocols.

Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s highest-altitude tunnel, called Atal Tunnel, in Rohtang Pass in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Built by BRO in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, this all-weather tunnel spans 9.02km and connects Manali to the Lahaul-Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh.

With a roadway of 8m and an overhead clearance of 5.525m, the tunnel has been designed to provide connectivity to commuters throughout the year, even during the winter when the region witnesses heavy snowfall.