India has opened a strategically important 480-metre bridge on River Simen in Arunachal Pradesh, a state bordering neighbouring China, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
The bridge, a key link on the Akajan-Jonai-Pasighat National Highway-52 in the critical border state, was declared open by Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju.
The bridge is expected to facilitate faster movement of troops, war machines and equipment to the frontier, according to the BRO, India's border roads building agency of its defence ministry.
At the inaugural ceremony, Raju told a gathering there that the opening of the bridge, built according to national highway double lane specifications, will usher in a new era of development for the civil population.
The bridge will also ensure smother and faster movement of the army and paramilitary forces to the frontier areas and a host of other agencies working for infrastructure development of the region.
The bridge will also facilitate early completion of the broad gauge rail conversion project -- the existing rail-cum-road bridge was a major ottleneck for smooth flow of road traffic -- between Rangiya and Murkongselek, according to the defence ministry.
Raju said the day-and-night work on the bridge, at a cost of Rs.24 crore ($4.8 million), had continued even during the monsoons using generators.
Among those present on the occasion were member of parliament Ranee Narah, BRO Director General Lt Gen S Ravi Shankar, 3 Corps General Officer Commanding Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni, 56 Infantry Division General Officer Commanding Maj Gen Sanjay Kulkurni, Defence Ministry Additional Secretary AK Bishnoi and Border Roads Development Board Secretary Subash Sharma.
In April this year, Raju had also opened a 720-metre-long bridge, one of the longest built by BRO connecting Lohit and Dibang valley at Digaru, in the state that is strategically important for the Indian Army to move troops and equipment to the difficult terrain.
Built by BRO's Project Udayak, the Digaru bridge's guide bunds are 1.6 km long.