“India loves peace, but capable of responding to aggression:” Rajnath Singh
The Defence Minister’s statement has come in the backdrop of China continuing to hold on to positions in Hot Springs and Gogra Post
Dedicating 12 roads developed by BRO in the country’s North-East region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said though India is a peace loving country, it has a capacity to reply to any aggression.
“We seek world peace. But if someone shows us an aggressive attitude, we will respond,” the Defence Minister said, adding the “new roads will help secure international borders.”
Rajnath Singh’s statement comes in the backdrop of China continuing to hold on to positions in Hot Springs and Gogra Post on the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. Several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks have taken place between the two countries since last year.
Both sides have disengaged from the North and the South Pangong Tso, but China has refused to move out of the rest of the friction points. The Defence Minister offered his tribute to 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the violent physical scuffle with Chinese army personnel on June 15, 2020.
“Last year in the Galwan Valley, our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in line of duty. I salute all brave soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for the nation,” the Defence Minister said.
As regards, BRO developed 12 roads, he said these roads will not only give a boost to connectivity but would facilitate faster movement of troops along the international border. Of 12 strategic roads, 10 have been built in Arunachal Pradesh, one each in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
“The North-East region is well-known all over the country for its beauty, natural resources and for its social and cultural diversities. However, the way in which the region needed to develop since independence in a holistic manner has not happened,” he remarked.
Owing to the lack of infrastructure, the basic requirements of people of this region would have remained unfulfilled or they would have encountered difficulties in accessing them, the Minister added.
However, the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has very well transformed the region, he maintained.
Underscoring the importance of North-East from a strategic point of view, which has a unique geography as it shares borders with five countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and China, Singh said that there are a number of challenges that the region faces.
Singling out BRO for the construction of roads, Singh said the organisation is regarded highly across the country for the quality of infrastructure and roads developed by it.
It also shows the capacity of India’s ‘Atmanirbharta’, self-reliance, he added.
Under the present government, the budget of BRO which was Rs. 3,000 crores in 2013-14 is now as high as Rs. 51,000 crores within such a short span of time.
Between 2014 and 2020 BRO has constructed 4800 kilometers of roads, he added.
While the roads built in the Northeast are important for development of the region, they are also of high priority from a defence point of view, the Minister said.