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Indian Army steps up efforts to safeguard Siliguri Corridor

Source : The New Indian Express

Indian Army steps up efforts to safeguard Siliguri Corridor
Siliguri Corridor is a narrow stretch of land bordering Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh measuring approximately 170X60km, at the narrowest it is about 20-22 km


NEW DELHI: India has resorted to multipronged approach to beef up security and defence of the strategically important Siliguri Corridor or the Chicken’s Neck. While some steps have been taken, there are more planned for future.


Talking to media, Lt Gen MK Pande recently said, “Only recently we have set up a joint coordinating centre under the army and that has proved to be effective to coordinate actions of all agencies that work in the region.” At the national level there is a thought process to look at alternate means in terms of economic activities and others to mitigate the threats to Siliguri Corridor, added Lt Gen Pande.

Siliguri Corridor is a narrow stretch of land bordering Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh measuring approximately 170X60km, at the narrowest it is about 20-22km. The geostrategic significance of the corridor comes about in terms of it being a narrow piece of land which connects the northeast India to the rest of the country through which major national highways, railway line, pipelines, OFC connectivity and the rest pass.

Its importance also stems from the fact that the Chumbi Valley of the Tibet Autonomous Region is quite close. The alacrity in steps to strengthen the area came post the 2017 Doklam standoff with the PLA close to the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and Tibet Autonomous Region. The Chinese PLA tried constructing a road which would bring them closer to the sensitive Siliguri Corridor.

Also, recently China and Bhutan signed an MoU on a roadmap “for Expediting the Bhutan-China Boundary Negotiations”. This agreement is to expedite the progress on the boundary talks. China is claiming around 89 sq km in the area which will help it to have more territory in a narrow area jutting towards the Siliguri Corridor. Apart from the strategic location of the stretch, the area also has other factors including that of radicalisation keeping the agencies on their toes.

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