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Rain or snow, strategically crucial Sela tunnel will take troops to China frontier anytime


The road to


, where Indian and Chinese


clashed in December 2022, passes through Sela, a

mountain pass

in Arunachal Pradesh set at almost 14,000 feet. The temperature drops to -20 degrees C sometimes, even diesel freezes, and it snows so heavily that getting through becomes impossible. But now, with the completion of the all-weather

Sela Tunnel


Indian Army

will have year-round connectivity between Guwahati in Assam and Tawang.

The Sela Tunnel is actually two tunnels – or three if you count the escape tunnel built along the longer of the two main tunnels. The tunnels have been bored through the mountain at 13,116 feet. They will reduce the distance between Tawang and Dirang in Arunachal’s West Kameng district by 12km, saving almost 90 minutes one way.
The project is said to be the longest bi-lane (two-lane) tunnel in the world at such altitude. The shorter tube (T1) measures 1003.34m and the longer tube (T2) 1594.90m. Because of T2’s length, a 1584.38m-long but narrower tunnel has been built parallel to it to let users escape if there’s a cave-in.

sela tunnel

For the safety of users, the tunnels have a ventilation system, powerful lighting, and firefighting systems. They have the capacity to let 3,000 cars and 2,000 trucks pass daily. They are of strategic importance as they will allow speedy troop deployment along the eastern sector of Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Moving troops, weapons, supplies and heavy machinery to forward areas in winter had become a priority after the Army’s skirmishes with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) between 2020 and 2022. Army has recently ordered Zorawar light tanks for deployment along LAC as the terrain is unsuitable for main battle tanks like T-90, T-72 and Arjun. Zorawar would be able to use such roads for faster deployment along the border.
Border Roads Organisation says Sela Tunnel is among the most challenging infrastructure projects taken up in India. It was made using the new Austrian tunnelling method, and more than 50 engineers and 800 crew worked on it. Work was hit last July after a major cloudburst made approach roads inaccessible. A third-party audit of Sela Tunnel was done after the Silkyara tunnel cave-in in Uttarakhand last November, and now the tunnel is ready for inauguration.

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