On Dualat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh, PM Modi says previous UPA led Governments compromise border security

Srinagar, Oct 03: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturdya took a jibe at the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Governments for its lack of focus on the development of border infrastructure, saying they resorted to perpetrate compromise on border security and development.

According to KNS monitoring, PM Modi was mentioning the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh where India is witnessing border stand-off with China.

PM Modi, without naming the Congress party, during the inauguration of Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh, said that the previous Governments must explain the reason the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip remained closed for nearly fifty-years.

He at the occasion inaugurated 9.02 km long Atal Tunnel which will connect Manali to Lahual-Spiti valley in the State.

“Many other important projects were treated in the same way as Atal Tunnel. The strategically important Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh remained closed for 40–45 years. I do not want to go into details about the helplessness and the pressure behind it,” Modi said adding that the country had seen a phase in which strengthening of border infrastructure was deliberately delayed.

The Prime Minister also asked why the previous government lacked the political will to open the airstrip at the Daulat Beg Oldi as he said his government is now concentrating on border development. “Security of the country is of prime importance for the Union government and the creation of border infrastructure is one of its top priorities. There was nothing more important for us than protecting the country. But the country has also seen a period when the defense interests of the country were compromised,” Modi said.

“Connectivity has a direct connection with the development and economic progress of the people. We also know that connectivity in border areas is directly related to security-related issues of the country. The Union government is giving utmost emphasis on the development of border infrastructure and its benefits are being extended to the common people as well as our armed forces personnel,” PM Modi said.

He also said that the previous governments had deliberately delayed the construction of Atal Tunnel. He also pointed out that if the work had continued at the same pace on the project, it would have been completed in 2040.

“We completed the work in just six years that would have taken 26 years. Atal ji laid the foundation stone of the approach road of this tunnel in 2002. Till 2013-2014, progress was made only on 1,300 meters of this tunnel. After 2014, the project progressed with unprecedented pace,” PM said.

PM Modi was accompanied by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defense Staff (CODS) Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur and Director General Border Roads Organization Lieutenant Gen Harpal Singh. (KNS)

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