Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, June 17, dedicated a 20 KM long Kimin-Potin road to the Nation in a programme, held at Kimin, at the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. It was announced as a move, made to boost connectivity in the remote areas of the North East.
The virtual inauguration of nine other roads built in Arunachal Pradesh and one road each in the union territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir was attended by Minister Rajnath Singh. These roads were constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO). The roads in Arunachal Pradesh were constructed under Vartak, Arunank, Brahmank and Udayak projects. Assam Chief Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma; Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Pema Khandu; Union Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs (Independent charge), Kiren Rijiju were in attendance at the programme.
Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that a strong North-East is integral to India’s security and progress. He also mentioned that although the region comprises tremendous natural beauty and resources, development in the northeast has been very slow in the decades, following India's independence in 1947. He further stated that the region received a major developmental push with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, taking charge of the country, in 2014.
He noted that the North East, surrounded by five foreign countries, is geographically unique, but at the same time, sensitive from a defence point of view. He explained how for a long period, the region experienced the challenges of insurgency, arms and narcotics smuggling etc. However, he observed that with development in the recent past, many of these problems have been solved.
He appreciated the BRO for playing a critical role in facilitating connectivity boost up in border areas and further added that this organization is endowed with enormous capabilities. Its role in nation-building is also immense. BRO, with its security alertness or assistance in the time of disasters, has always been playing its role. The 12 roads inaugurated during the programme would facilitate the smooth movement of material and manpower for the armed forces. He termed the improvement in communication infrastructure at the border areas as initiatives under the Act East Policy.
He revealed that BRO’s budget funding has been increased to Rs. 11,000 crore under the present central government from earlier Rs 3,000 crore, which resulted in the organisation, building 48,000 km of roads, since 2014, at the geographically challenging and sensitive border areas of the country.
Explaining how India has never exhibited aggressive intent against any country, the Union Defence Minister strongly asserted that the country would not tolerate any
misadventures towards its integrity and sovereignty from other nations. He also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, a lot of reforms have been adopted in the defence sector, while all three defence forces have been brought under a unified structure with the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). "India soon would be able to export weapons and defence equipment to countries, apart from becoming self-reliant to fulfil its requirement as efforts have been made in this regard", said Minister Rajnath Singh.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma took the opportunity to thank the Union Defence Minister for prioritising Northeast’s security through the strengthening of the road infrastructure in the difficult border areas of the region. He also emphasized that Rajnath Singh's position as the Union Home Minister, played a crucial role in giving momentum to peace talks with NDFB and asserted that people of the North-East would always remember his contributions in bringing peace to the region. The Chief Minister also expressed his gratitude to the Union Defence Minister for helping to set up a 300 bedded COVID-19 hospital through DRDO at Guwahati during the second wave of the pandemic.
Chief Minister Sarma also appreciated the role played by BRO in building roads at the border and said that the inauguration of Kimin-Point Road along with 11 other roads will script a new chapter in boosting the smooth movement of goods and people in unreachable border areas of Arunachal Pradesh. He asserted that Prime Minister Modi's vision of making Northeast, the new engine of the country’s growth, will gather momentum with these developments.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Pema Khandu; Union Minister of State (Independent) of Sports and Youth Development, Kiren Rijiju also spoke at the occasion, conveying gratitude to the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BRO on behalf of the people of Arunachal Pradesh.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, was also present at the programme. BRO Director-General, Lt. Gen. Rajeev Chaudhary presented the welcome address. DoNER Minister, Dr. Jitendra Singh and Lt. Governor of Union Territory of Ladakh, R.K. Mathur virtually attended the programme.