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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to embark on a day-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh on March 9 to inaugurate several development projects including the Sela Tunnel which will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang bordering China.

An official on Wednesday said that PM Modi will dedicate the tunnel to the nation at a function to be held at Baisakhi in West Kameng district. He will also lay the foundation stone for around 20 development projects, before proceeding to neighbouring Assam, the official said.

The Sela Tunnel, situated at an elevation of 13,000 feet, will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The tunnel is strategically important due to its proximity to the Line of actual control (LAC), an official said.

The tunnel, located near Sela Pass, was required as the Balipara-Charidwar-Tawang Road remains closed for a long period of the year due to snowfall and landslides caused by heavy rainfall.

The tunnel will enhance the Indian army’s capabilities at the LAC by ensuing speedy deployment of troops, weapons and machinery to the forward areas along the Sino-India border.

The foundation of the project was laid by PM Modi in February 2019, with a cost estimation of ? 697 crore, but work got delayed due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project comprises two tunnels. The first is a single-tube tunnel of 980 metres in length, and the second one is 1.5 km long with an escape tube for emergencies.In 1962, Chinese troops had clashed with Indian forces in the region, and significantly, Tawang town was overrun on October 24 that year.