The Government of India is planning to introduce a bill for setting up Central University in Ladakh Union Territory in the upcoming monsoon session of the Parliament starting from July 19.
The Centre intends to introduce “The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to amend the Central Universities Act-2009 for setting up the Central University in Ladakh UT.
The announcement for establishing the Central University in Ladakh was made in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Feb 01 this year.
“For accessible higher education in Ladakh. I propose to set up a central university in Leh,” Sitharaman had said while presenting the budget of the ongoing fiscal.
As per report, this will be the second varsity in Ladakh region. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has planned to set up the first-ever university in Ladakh.
In December 2018, the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by J&K’s Governor Satya Pal Malik, had approved a bill for establishment of Cluster University in Ladakh.
The Cluster University is spread over five colleges of Leh and Kargil districts. It was established with an initial grant of Rs 65 crore
Tensions simmer as China installs new shelters for troops near LAC in eastern Ladakh
China has put in place new modular container-based accommodations for its troops in several high-altitude forward areas on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in response to Indian deployment in the region, people familiar with the developments said on Monday.
The shelters were installed in locations near Tashigong, Manza, Hot Springs and Churup among others, in reflection of simmering tensions between the two sides in the region, they said.
The people cited above said China’s People’s Liberation Army has been feeling the heat of the Indian response to its “misadventure” in the region last year and that the Chinese military has been forced to go for long deployments and boost infrastructure in the region.
They said the Indian response to the Chinese actions last year, particularly after the Galwan Valley clashes, surprised the neighbouring country and that it deployed troops in areas where it never used to earlier.
“Our strategy is hurting them. They are reacting to our response. We have forced PLA to go for forward deployment and boost infrastructure,” said one of the people.
They said the new deployments are appearing to be affecting the morale of the Chinese troops as they were not used to operate in such difficult terrain.
The new container-based accommodations were built in addition to the additional military camps that the Chinese military had set up following the escalation in tension between the two sides last year.
The people said India is also ramping up construction of tunnels, bridges roads and other critical infrastructure in eastern Ladakh and other areas along the nearly 3,500-km LAC.
They said China is also significantly enhancing its airbases and air defence units near the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
The border row escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 last year.
Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the clashes that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.
In February, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army though it is widely believed that the death toll was higher.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in Gogra area last month.
In February, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in line with an agreement on disengagement.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.
India closely monitoring Chinese drone activity along LAC in Eastern Ladakh
Having deployed over 50,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control with India opposite eastern Ladakh, the Chinese military is extensively using drones that are flying close to the Indian positions there.
The drone activity by the Chinese is mostly visible in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector, Gogra heights and other friction points in the area and is being monitored using different types of assets by the Indian forces, government sources said.
“The drone activity by the Chinese Army is under constant watch by our assets,” they said.
India has also been deploying drones extensively and will soon see the induction of new Israeli and Indian drones which have been acquired by the defence forces using the emergency financial powers for meeting the challenge on the China border.
Explaining the situation along the LAC, sources said that the friction points left need to be resolved, from the ones that developed last year, after the Chinese aggression in April-May timeframe.
Three major friction points had emerged between the two countries including both the banks of Pangong lake, Gogra heights and the Hot Springs area.
Through multiple rounds of talks, both sides have resolved issues involving Pangong Tso and Gogra heights friction points as troops have disengaged from there.
Sources said the Chinese side is also rapidly converting their temporary structures for their troops into permanent ones with all facilities.
“Military camps have been built close the Tibetan villages in the areas close to Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. These camps are built using concrete buildings and show the intent that they want to station troops for longer periods,” the sources said.
Work had started on the Chinese side last year itself after the Galwan valley clash. “The construction work is still on at multiple locations to meet the winter requirements,” they said.
Chinese have not moved back any of their troops that had been deployed since April 2020 as the Chinese Army seems to be working on long term deployment of troops near the Indian border.
Chinese Army is also heavily investing in the construction of facilities for the Tibetan villages near the Indian border to use them as a line of defence and also recruiting them for joining their ranks.
The Chinese are also trying to ape the Indian forces’ model of deploying the sons of the soil in these mountainous areas to enhance swiftness in operations.
Anurag Thakur inspects construction at Zojila Pass tunnel in Ladakh
Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday reviewed the construction work of the Zojila Pass tunnel in the Kargil district of Ladakh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the project in May 2018 with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launching the first blasting for construction-related work at the Zojila tunnel last year.
“This tunnel will play an important role in joining Srinagar-Kargil-Leh…National Highway Authority of India, Government of India are rapidly working on its construction… it is a work in progress…:” Anurag Thakur said.
The Union Youth Affairs and Sports minister said around Rs 4500 crore will be spent on the project. ” I am glad that the process is taking place rapidly in this project and another blast has been initiated for Zohila Tunnel so that the project is completed at the earliest,” Thakur said.
He further added that the government under the leadership of PM Modi is taking initiative for this project. “Modi government is doing a good job in terms of development as well as protection of the country. In the upcoming years, this tunnel will be beneficial for the military as well as residents,” the minister said.
The Zozila tunnel, touted as Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel road at 14.15 kilometers, was initially conceived in 2004-05. It is expected to reduce the travel time by more than 3 hours to 15 minutes.
The tunnel said to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on National Highway-1 will provide all-weather safe connectivity between Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh regions.
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