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Indian Army is planning to construct underground tunnels for storage of ammunition along the border with China and Pakistan and Public Sector Undertaking NHPC Limited is being roped in for the purpose, army sources said.

“Indian Army is in the process of executing pilot projects for construction of semi underground and cavern type ammunition storage construction through NHPC Ltd., for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed in the next few days,” an Army source said on Wednesday.

Underground storage offers improved safety, easier camouflage from enemy observation and satellite imagery and protection from enemy strikes like those seen during the aerial engagement on February 27, a day after the Balakot air strike when Pakistan Air Force jets targeted Indian army installations along the Line of Control (LoC). Major armies, including China and the U.S., already use underground ammunition storage, a second source observed.

These tunnels will be built in high altitude areas in the Northern and Eastern borders. Initially, four pilot projects would be taken up at four different locations along the Northern border and in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of Rs. 15 crore, the source said. “These are expected to be completed within two years.”

As the conditions in the caverns are controlled, it ensures better safety of sensitive ammunition minimising accidental explosions.

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