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India Flexes Muscle Near Border as PM Modi opens Bhupen Hazarika Setu, India's Longest

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Dhola-Sadia bridge, India’s longest, over Lohit River in Assam, kicking off his government’s celebrations of completing three years in power.


Updated:May 26, 2017, 1:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Dhola-Sadia bridge, India’s longest, over Lohit River in Assam, kicking off his government’s celebrations of completing three years in power.

The bridge holds strategic importance as it ends just 100 km short of China’s border.

Hailing the construction of the bridge, the PM said it will not just save time and money but will being about an economic revolution in the country.

The PM also decided to name the bridge after the late Bhupen Hazarika, singer and filmmaker from Assam.

"In 2003, one of our MLAs Jagdish Bhuyan wrote to Vajpayee ji requesting for such a bridge. He approved," said PM Modi.

The PM complained that soon after the government changed and the work on the bridge kept on getting delayed.

The Modi government had previously quashed China’s claims on Arunachal Pradesh, saying that the state was an integral part of India. "China’s claim is baseless. India has no boundary with China but with Tibet since China forcibly occupied Tibet in 1959. Now, they want to expand their boundary up to Arunachal which will not be accepted by the people of the state," state BJP President Tapir Gao told reporters in Itanagar.

Like it or not, India, on Friday, went ahead and opened its longest bridge. Here are 10 vital things you need to know:

* The bridge is built over the Lohit River, which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra.

* Construction of the bridge began when the Congress was ruling Assam. The project costs about Rs 950 crore.

* In 2015, the Centre made this project part of the Rs 15,000 crore package aimed at improving roads in the bordering states.

* With a length of about 9.2 kilometer, it’s almost 30% longer than the existing Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai.

* The bridge is located in Sadia, which is about 540 kilometers from Guwahati. The other end of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge is in Dhola, which is about 300 kilomteers from Itanagar i.e. the

capital of Arunachal Pradesh.

* Once open for public use, the bridge will reduce the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by up to four hours. This is important since there is no functional airport in Arunachal Pradesh.

* The bridge has been made and designed in such a way that it can withstand 60-tonne battle tanks.

* The strategic importance of the bridge is massive because once it’s opened, troops will be able to enter Arunachal Pradesh much more quickly. Arunachal Pradesh lies along the China border.

* This would be the first ever bridge strong enough to withstand tanks in that region. So far, troops had a difficult time getting to Tinsukia, from where they usually enter Arunachal Pradesh.

* As of now, there is little road connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which is said to be strategic in the sense that it can make any incursion from China difficult. As of now, they can only do so by boat.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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