India is doubling its attempts to complete the Zojila tunnel in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK), in order to cut down on the time it takes to reach Ladakh, where China actively lays claims to parts of the territory.
According to Deutsche Welle, India has been able to expand a web of tunnels, bridges and roads in Ladakh for mobilizing its troops more efficiently in the tense region.
The Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest and highest such construction. It will enable the Indian military to deal with logistics efficiently, shortening travel time to Ladakh through Zojila Pass from 3.5 hours to only 15 minutes.
The deadline for completion of the tunnel has been brought forward to December 2023, with plans to allow the public access on Indian Republic Day in January 2024.
The Zojila tunnel would also free up the region to tourists all year and will make the otherwise inaccessible region in reach of essential healthcare items and basic necessities for the inhabitants there.
The critical need for the tunnel was felt because of past conflicts with Pakistan over Kargil and recent clashes with China in Ladakh, and the fact that Leh, the capital of Ladakh, lies too close to the border with Pakistan.