New rail-road bridge raises India's border defences

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown in an Indian Press Information Bureau photo at the dedication of Bogibeel Bridge in Dibrugarh, Assam, on Dec 25.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown in an Indian Press Information Bureau photo at the dedication of Bogibeel Bridge in Dibrugarh, Assam, on Dec 25.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BOGIBEEL (India) • India on Tuesday opened its longest rail-road bridge in a poor north-eastern state as part of efforts to boost defences on its sensitive border with China.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drove a cavalcade on the 4.9km-long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river to inaugurate the project in Assam state which has taken nearly two decades and US$800 million (S$1.1 billion) to complete.

Mr Modi said in his address. "The Bogibeel Bridge is a lifeline for the people of Assam. It has enhanced connectivity between Assam and other parts of the nation."

The bridge, near the city of Dibrugarh, will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.

India lost territory in Arunachal Pradesh in a 1962 war with China.

The bridge cuts the rail journey from Dibrugarh to Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar by 750km.

It was designed to bear the weight of India's heaviest battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it.

India last year opened its longest bridge, the 9.1km Dhola-Sadiya bridge linking Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, also for tactical defences.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2018, with the headline 'New rail-road bridge raises India's border defences'. Print Edition | Subscribe