Dhola-Sadiya bridge
The Dhola-Sadiya bridge, India’s longest, will open Friday along the China border.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — For more than a half-century, India has ignored the roads along its more than 2,000-mile disputed border region with China.

The logic and reasoning were rather simple: India didn’t want China to have easy access to the South Asian subcontinent if Beijing ever tried to repeat the brief 1962 border war and encroach into the territory India sees as its own.

Friday, that all changes.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will open the Dhola-Sadiya bridge. The country’s longest, it will span more than five-and-a-half miles, across the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The bridge will ensure the smooth movement of troops to Arunachal Pradesh, one of India’s most remote regions that is claimed in full by China.

“The bridge across Brahmaputra in Assam into Arunachal Pradesh is a great strategic shift in the thinking in the Indian defense establishment regarding infrastructure development in the borders with China,” K.V. Kuber, an independent defense analyst and former colonel in the Indian Army, told Live Mint. “The new infrastructure will help the Indian military to be prepared for a decent rebuttal to ward off any misadventure from the Chinese side.”

The project’s ultimate aim is to assert India’s dominance in a region where the Chinese have already achieved great success. The two nations have, in a word, tense, bilateral relations, despite the fact they share a trade relationship worth $70 billion. While India — the world’s largest arms importer — have struggled to upgrade its military, such infrastructure projects like this could provide Modi with room to breathe.

“India has to be prepared for a short, intense war in the years to come and movement of resources from one sector to another—depending on the threat envisaged—is of utmost importance to the Indian armed forces,” said S. K. Chatterji, an independent defense analyst and a former brigadier in the Indian Army. “This bridge on the Brahmaputra will help India to quickly move resources, including military weapons and equipment at will, to the borders with China along Arunachal Pradesh.”

Arunachal Pradesh, which is located in the Himalayas, an area which Beijing consider as South Tibet, is where India will continue its infrastructure push, building a 2,000-km highway in the state.

India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square kilometers in Jammu and Kashmir, while Beijing lays claim to 90,000 square kilometers of land in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.