India took a big step towards strengthening the defence of Ladakh against both China and Pakistan with the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approving the construction of the world’s highest tunnel under the Shinkun La.
The 4.1-km tunnel on the Manali-Darcha-Padam-Nimu road will pass under the Shinkun La – which lies at an altitude of 16,703 feet – and will provide all-weather connectivity for the Indian Army to the Lac with China and the LoC with Pakistan in the border areas of Ladakh. An approach road is also scheduled to be completed by December 2025.
Providing details of the cabinet decision, Union minister Anurag Thakur said the tunnel will be completed by December 2025 at a cost of Rs 1,681 crore.
“The tunnel under the Shinkun La is intended to provide all-weather road connectivity to Ladakh and this will be the shortest route to the border areas of the Union territory,” Anurag Thakur was quoted as saying by PTI.
“The Cabinet Committee on Security today approved the Shinku La tunnel for Ladakh area which will provide all-weather connectivity to the Ladakh region with the entire country,” the minister added.
“This (project) is also very important as far as the security and safety of the country is concerned…. It will also help in the movement of our security forces in that region.”
The tunnel under the Shinkun La is extremely important as Nimu in Ladakh is in close proximity to Kargil as well as Leh. This means that the Indian Army will have the ability to deploy troops and military hardware to the Line of Control (LoC) against Pakistan in the Kargil-Siachen sector or at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in East Ladakh against China during future conflicts.