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India’s answer to Chinese Infrastructure build-up near LAC ! How Sela Tunnel will allow faster Indian response in case of Chinese aggression

Source : Hindustan Times

India's answer to Chinese Infrastructure build-up near LAC ! How Sela Tunnel will allow faster Indian response in case of Chinese aggression

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated nearly 2.5 kilometer long tunnel under 4,190 meter Se La, which along with 2023 inaugurated Nechiphu tunnel will allow faster deployment of troops in defence of China coveted Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

While PM Modi delivered the Se La tunnel within five years of laying the foundation stone in Feb 2019, Se La reminds India of its ignominious fall during the 1962 war with China due to poor military and political leadership.

The seventh brigade of Indian Army withdrew from Tawang after heavy losses on October 23, 1962. The virtually impregnable Se La fell to the Chinese on November 18, 1962 due to weak military leadership with its brave 62 Brigade commander Brigadier Hoshiar Singh killed in an PLA ambush on November 23, four days after Beijing had handed a humiliating ceasefire to India in Peking on November 19, 1962.

According to Official History of 1962 war, both Se la and Bomdi La fell due to loss of morale of troops led by Major General M S Pathania of fourth division and virtual surrender by the 65 brigade commander A S Cheema.

India's answer to Chinese Infrastructure build-up near LAC ! How Sela Tunnel will allow faster Indian response in case of Chinese aggression
Strategic Sela Tunnel, inaugurated today by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Arunachal Pradesh

Despite protests from Brigadier Hoshiar Singh of Se La Brigade, General Pathania panicked due to reports of Chinese outflanking Indian troops at Se La through side tracks around the pass and Bhutan and ordered withdrawal with lack of leadership from either the Army Chief Gen P N Thapar, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen L P Sen and Corps Commander Lt Gen Brij Mohan Kaul, who was replaced by Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh on October 24, 1962 and then reappointed due to his proximity with Defence Minister V Krishna Menon and Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru on October 29, 1962 .

The building of the tunnel under Se La is also an affirmation that India today is confident enough to take on the PLA challenge in the Tawang sector. The Chinese had built a road from Bum La to Tawang along with a bridge within two weeks after Tawang fell to the enemy in 1962.

With Chinese renaming many features in Arunachal Pradesh in mandarin since 2020 and still coveting the Indian border state by calling it ‘South Tibet’, the tunnels at Se la and Nechiphu will allow flexible and faster deployment of Indian troops and armour in Tawang sector in the worst case scenario. Se La tunnel is about defence of India and not merely tourism.

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