South Asia and Beyond

NPD Road: Critical Connectivity To China, Pakistan Himalayan Fronts In Ladakh

In ‘The Himalayan Frontier’, Part IV, we complete our journey to Leh on the strategic third, alternate axis—the Darcha-Padam-Nimu (NPD) Road, that we started in episode III. The route provides critical connectivity for defence logistics to and civilian development around the Northern China-occupied Tibet border or Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Line of Control (LoC) and the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen with Pakistan. It is shielded from both the India-China border and the frontier with Pakistan unlike the other two axes. A StratNews Global team of Amitabh P. Revi, Rohit Pandita and Karan Marwaha travels during the fourth winter of India’s forward deployment post Xi Jinping’s aggression that led to the deadly Galwan clashes in 2020. The freezing temperatures highlight one of the several challenges the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) faces in recce-ing, tracing, drilling through the mighty ranges and building black-top roads on this route. India’s infrastructure development has seen a sustained thrust, especially after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) salami slicing tactics in border areas. In part II of this series, the Indian Army Chief, General Manoj Pande told StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale in an exclusive interview, that talks with China are continuing at both military and diplomatic levels but India is maintaining a robust posture along the LAC. Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. Upendra Dwivedi also told Nitin Gokhale in Part I, that the “situation is stable but sensitive and not normal”.

This series continues with an interview of Lt Gen Raghu Srinivasan, the Director General, BRO at Chiling near Leh, ground reports that document the consistent infrastructure push in road connectivity and air bridges, and capture on camera how the Indian Army, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), and the Indian Air Force’s women, men and machines are honing their all-weather readiness during another winter, against the two-front threat from China and Pakistan.

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