Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Feb.20 (ANI): Reacting strongly to China's repeated claims on Arunachal Pradesh territory, Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday emphatically said that this strategically-located state is an integral part of India, and added there is nothing to fear about its security.
India has been keeping close tabs on China's massive build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control.A range of issues pertaining to the disputed 2,000 km long boundary have been discussed from time to time by Indian and Chinese officials at various levels. In Arunachal Pradesh, India and China share a 1,080 kilometre-long border.
Antony, who arrived here this morning, to attend the silver jubilee statehood day celebrations of Arunachal Pradesh as the chief guest at the Indira Gandhi Park here, said: "You know there are some unresolved problems with China. Recently, we have an agreement with China to sort out issues coming in border areas."
Antony was referring to the January 15-16 bilateral talks between the Special Representatives of China and India in New Delhi.
"By and large, the border is peaceful, and at the same time, India is taking care of strengthening the capabilities to protect our national interest from any kind of challenges from any quarters. The eastern border is safe and we will make it safer, (and) for that, whatever is needed to strengthen our security apparatus, we are taking care of it continuously in a systematic manner," he said.
"India is strengthening its security capabilities in the eastern border. Along with that, we are also taking care of the socio-economic development of the border areas. I want to make it amply clear that our security forces are capable of protecting our national interests," said Antony without mincing any words.
Responding to a question, he said that besides developing defence capabilities, infrastructures like roads and airfields are also being built for defence and civilian operations as the Government of India wants Arunachal to develop fast as true partner of India's development.
Antony declined drawing a comparison between India and China in the area of massive infrastructure development and defence build up along the border that separates the two countries.
Earlier, Antony reassured the people of Arunachal Pradesh and the state government of New Delhi's unflinching support for its accelerated development. Antony said that he has been associated with the state for the last 27 years.
"I have travelled the length and breadth of the region, including Arunachal, besides accompanying former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi this day 25 years ago, who was at this venue to lay the foundation of the state's development by declaring it as a full-fledged state", he recalled.
Infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and allied sector development are the state's priority areas, he pointed out, adding that the prime minister's massive package announced on 31st January 2008 would bring a sea change in the state in the years to come.
Though there was delay in some projects, particularly in the execution of the 1,545-km double-lane Trans-Arunachal Highway and the Itanagar Green Field Airport, he assured that steps would be taken to speed up the process.
Describing Arunachal Pradesh as the future power house of the nation, Antony said that the tapping of the state's hydropower potential (58,000 MW) would yield a state annual revenue of Rs 10,000 crore per annum.
He said the challenge was to ensure the implementation of projects and give an equitable share to the people, who he cautioned to remain vigilant against forces inimical to the state's development.
He said that the Tezu-Tawang Road being executed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the renovation of seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) would be expedited. He informed that the second battalion of the Arunachal Scouts and the National Institute of Mountaineering and Advanced Sports at Dirang in West Kameng district have been approved.
Informing about land acquisition for establishment of a new army brigade, Antony, in response to a 13-point memorandum submitted by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki ,reassured the people and the state government of New Delhi's unflinching support for its accelerated development.
Governor General J J Singh, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, former chief ministers of the state, Members of Parliament Takam Sanjoy and Ninong Ering were present on the occasion, including sevreal other dignitaries of the state. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)
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