Bogibeel Bridge: A Boost in India’s Strategic Defence Capabilities in Northeast

Bogibeel Bridge: A Boost in India’s Strategic Defence Capabilities in Northeast

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated India’s longest rail-road bridge, the Bogibeel Bridge in Assam to the nation on Sunday. The 4.94km long bridge will not only enhance the ‘ease of living’ in this region, but will also cut down the mobilisation time for the military in Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China, in case of any contingency.

According to military experts, the Rs 5,920 crore rail-cum-road bridge is designed to bear a load of over 60 tonnes of battle tanks and withstand earthquakes up to a magnitude of seven in the Richter scale. Fighter jets can also land and take-off from the bridge in case of a war-like situation.

“It not only provides road and rail connectivity to the troops but strategic assets can also move swiftly from south to north of Brahmaputra. Connecting north to south bank of Brahmaputra was a big limitation in this area, which has now been solved,” retired Lt General Anil Ahuja, who has commanded the Tezpur-based 4 Corps of the Indian Army, told THE WEEK. He said that in the event of a Chinese attack on Arunachal Pradesh, military assets and troops can be sent from mainland till Bogibeel. “From Bogibeel, military movement can head further east on the upcoming Strategic Rail- Road link, which is mainly in Arunachal Pradesh, closer to the border with China,” Ahuja further explained.

Military experts also maintained that Bogibeel rail and road bridge gives faster movement to troops based in Nagaland and Manipur to reach the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh instead of crossing Brahmaputra at Tezpur, which is 250 kilometres west.

“Bogibeel Bridge has been long in the making. The bridge provides the much needed connectivity between northern and southern bank of Brahmaputra. The bridge will cut down the travel time to the north bank considerably and will provide the badly needed connectivity,” Lt Gen S.L. Narsimhan, who commanded the Dimapur-based 3 Corps, the largest operationally active Corps of the Indian Army.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the bridge, which spans between Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam, is of immense economic and strategic significance for the nation.

“This bridge is a marvel of engineering and technology, and is of immense strategic significance. It reduces distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and would greatly enhance ease of living in this region,” Modi said during the inauguration.

The prime minister noted that while only three bridges were built over the Brahmaputra river in 60-70 years, three more have been completed in the last four-and-a-half years alone. Another five, he said, are in progress.

Last year, to boost India’s tactical defences, Modi inaugurated India’s longest bridge, the 9.1 kilometre Dhola-Sadiya bridge, to connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Bogibeel Bridge that will reduce the rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar by 750 kilometres, was conceived in 1973 but the foundation stone was laid by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda in 1997. However, the actual work began in 2002.

Source- THE WEEK

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