India Opens Its Longest Bridge in Northeast

India has opened its (1)___________________ in the country’s northeast to strengthen its defenses close to a disputed border with China.
The bridge is one of (2)________________ whose construction has been sped up to make it easier for troops and artillery to travel to Arunachal Pradesh state, in the Himalayas.
China (3)______________ the state as its territory. It calls the area South Tibet.
The 9.15-kilometer-long Dhola Sadiya Bridge crosses over the Brahmaputra River. It (4)________________ to carry the weight of 60-ton battle tanks. The bridge connects Arunachal Pradesh with the northeastern state of Assam. (5)___________ began in 2011.
(6)______________ Narendra Modi opened the bridge on the day marking his third year in office. He did not talk about possible military uses for the bridge. He said instead that the area (7)_______________ from the bridge. He said it would (8)________________ economic development in both Arunachal Pradesh and Assam states and would help tens of thousands of farmers sell their crops in new markets.
Since he took office in 2014, Modi has worked to increase the (9)__________________ growth through infrastructure projects. They include several projects in border regions of northeastern states that the government says are needed to strengthen India’s defenses.
For many years, India did not (10)________________ in the region because it believed Chinese troops would use it in a war to gain access to areas of India.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed briefly in 1962. (11)_______________ have taken place since then, but parts of their border are still disputed.
Dipankar Banerjee is a security expert and former Indian major general. He says that, in the past, (12)_________________ if India built roads close to the border then the roads “could perhaps be used for (an) offensive purpose by either side. So there was some constraint on building roads.”
India hopes to complete a two-lane road by next year to a (13)______________ in Arunachal Pradesh, where all military supplies must now be transported by helicopter.
Building the road near steep Himalayan mountains has been a difficult engineering problem. Some road-building (14)__________________ had to be transported to the area by helicopters.
India is also improving (15)________________ for large military aircraft.
Indian experts say the projects will help India in (16)_______________ to match the large transportation network China has built on its side of the border. Banerjee says “China has got much (17)_____________________ -- that is one of the major issues.”
Recently, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called on troops guarding the border to guard (18)_________________.
“We want peace, but peace with honor. We need to be (19)_________________ deterring anyone who may think we are weak,” Singh told members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police force that guards parts of the border with China.
Ties between the two countries have worsened in the past year. Last month, China (20)__________________ a visit by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh. It warned that the visit would harm relations with India.
I’m Mario Ritter.
Correspondent Anjana Pasricha reported this story from New Delhi. We also used reporting from the BBC. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story

infrastructure – n. the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region or organization to function properly
region – n. a part of a country, of the world, etc., that is different or separate from other parts in some way
constraint – n. something that limits or restricts someone or something
deter – v. to prevent (something) from happening
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