Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya today suggested some precautionary measures to the Union government related to border areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts in Himachal Pradesh, which share boundaries with China.

In a letter to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Governor said that the region is strategically important as it is adjacent to China.

“It needs more focus and amidst the tension between China and India,” he said. “Himachal shares more than 260 km boundary with Tibet and China and therefore, we need to be suitably prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

He said the means of communication and road transport in these remote border areas in the hill state may be strengthened.

“Presently, only one Independent Brigade of the Indian Army is deployed at Pooh. I suggest that in future the deployment of the Indian Army may be increased to an Independent Mountain Division,” he said.

The Governor said adequate arrangements may be made to tackle drones from China side as and when required. “There is an urgent need of an airstrip in Spiti area in the Lahaul and Spiti District for a prompt deployment of forces in the border areas in case of need. This airstrip will act as an advanced landing ground,” he said.

Dattatraya said the Himachal Pradesh Police is trying its best and District Superintendent of Police of Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti have visited villages in the border areas and interacted with the people to build their confidence and ensure their safety.

“However, similar continuous efforts need to be undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agencies, Indian Army and ITBP to instil a sense of security and confidence among the people living in the border areas,” he said.

“Atal Tunnel under Rohtang Pass 3978 metres, connecting Manali in Kullu District with Keylong in Lahaul & Spiti district is likely to be completed in the near future. The commissioning of the tunnel will allow year-round traffic on the Manali-Leh axis, thereby significantly increasing road traffic. On account of its strategic importance, adequate arrangements for intelligence, security and maintenance of this axis round the year need to be made in advance,” he said.

The Governor said he had every hope that the above said suggestions once implemented will strengthen India’s position on the Indo-Tibet/China border and will also generate confidence amongst local people.