Saad Bin Ubaid

The topic of today’s article is not much prioritized among masses but it is something which everyone must know because it is very impactful in a country’s development. Tunnels may be defined as “rigorous underground pathways between high and low mountains by cutting them in such a way that they can perform multiple tasks.” We must know about its role in development of states.

In the ancient times, mountains were natural boundaries between cultures, values, norms, and states. Although, rivers also acted as natural boundaries like Oxus (Amu) river between Afghanistan and Azerbaijan but we rarely see any example of river boundaries. However, mountains always acted as natural boundaries between states. In short we can say that territorial difference of states and nations could be decided on their control of area between mountains and our historical studies show that in ancient times, many civilizations lived in valleys and hence each civilization was described by its valley. However, in today’s world, the boundaries between states are internationally mentioned lines across the high altitude mountains. From our history, we have seen that many states were founded on north-west of subcontinent which were entirely distributed on high mountains but today the federal units want to fully occupy and control far-flung areas in mountains. So in this perspective, tunnels play very important role in integration of a region under a federation.

Unlike past, we can easily cross these high mountains by switching through tunnels even in worst conditions. The persons on both sides can easily transport and travel to places and markets in much easier ways. It also lowers the fuel consumption which is beneficial for today under extreme climate changes and helps save precious revenue being spent on oil. Similarly, it maintains reliability of transportation vehicles and allow vehicles to reach destination as soon as possible. It also saves human resource and time.

Similarly, in terms of communication, we can easily understand tunnel’s impact on increasing reliability and efficiency of communication networks. Actually, to transfer waves over large distances, special micro waves signal transmitters were used but the flaw was that, they could not work ay high altitude and hence radio waves connectors were used in past era but they were not reliable in any condition and specially in harsh conditions. So the idea of using them gradually flopped as there was also a risk of danger from the enemy attacking from somewhere at low altitude. With the development of tunnels, microwaves are used as easy communication without installation of gap towers of radio waves and it is now possible to connect to far areas in harsh conditions.

A Tunnel lowers the fuel consumption which is beneficial for today under extreme climate changes and helps save precious revenue being spent on oil.

Tunnels are not only used in roads facilities but also used in railway systems as highly developed nations have their entire railway system underground. Similarly, tunnels are also used in canal system because at some places there are hurdles and obstacles appearing mainly in plateaus and highland areas which ultimately make it necessary to establish tunnels in their way. Similarly, dams also use the tunnels system and without tunnel technology, nations may face difficulties in developing even their food and agriculture sectors.

Tunnels are not only used in roads facilities but also used in railway systems as highly developed nations have their entire railway system underground

In modern days, with the evolution of technology and its enhancement day by day, the importance of tunnels’ strategic perspective is also increasing. The nations without tunnels in their mountainous areas can be easily targeted by enemy’s air force as land army would already be suffering due to altitude. However, tunnels give a positive edge to land army as it can take cover in tunnels without having prior knowledge of enemy’s advancement. Similarly, the transportation of food and ammunition for army is also easily managed in due time. During war, tunnels serve excellently in transporting heavy artillery behind the mountains.

In today technological world, tunnels play an important role in defining the progress of country. The nations with more tunnels have better infrastructure overall and can be discussed as developed nations as the poor countries are not so advanced in technological inventions and hence are deprived of these facilities and their existence is entirely dependent on nature.

Pakistan has attained a vast system of tunnels in inheritance in the field of railway and canal system from British raj. However, Pakistan has had poor road infrastructure and highway system up to the start of 21st century due political instability but now as Pakistan is under CPEC and Belt and Road Initiative with China as its main strategic partner, it is continuously building world-class tunnels as we have seen Swat and Abbottabad. These tunnels are iconic in the region and there are many tunnels under construction on both highways and motorways in entire country from Khunjerab to Karachi.

Tunnels hold a very important position in the development of countries having mountains as they not only shorter the time distances but also shorten the distance between cultures, values and traditions. They are important in terms of providing significant boost to the state’s strategic as well as human resource potentials. If Pakistan is to move forward in terms of infrastructure, it must continue building tunnels at brisk pace.

About The Author
Saad Bin Ubaid studies Mathematics at Quaid-i-Azam University. He is interested in National Security as well as Agricultural and Industrial development. He is a keen observer of International Relations and Strategic Affairs.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Rationale-47.

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