New Delhi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asserted Government’s unwavering commitment to bolster border infrastructure to effectively deal with any threats that undermine the peace and tranquillity in the country.
Inaugurating strategically important ‘Col Chewang Rinchen Setu’, a bridge built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) over River Shyok, connecting Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh, October 21, he said “keeping in view the current security situation, strengthening our borders is the need of the hour. Border area development is an integral part of our Government’s plan and this bridge is a part of that strategy.”
Singh said, “India shares cordial relations with China. There are perceptional differences between both the countries on the boundary issue but the issue has been handled with great maturity and responsibly. Both the countries have not allowed the situation to escalate or go out of hand.”
“Kashmir is India’s internal and integral matter. Even the Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping did not mention Kashmir in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram. China’s recent statement for action against terror is also significant,” he said.
The Defence Minister said the decision to make Ladakh a separate Union Territory has fulfilled the long-pending demand of the people, which will open new doors of development in the region. “Like the rest of the country, Ladakh will now become a destination for investment. There will also be a boost in revenue generation and employment opportunities for local people”, he said.
Singh said, abrogation of Article 370 will put an end to terrorism and separatism which, since independence, has led to the killing of thousands of innocent people. He said, the decision will strengthen human rights and help in empowering women of the area.
Describing the ‘Col Chewang Rinchen Setu’ as a symbol of the Government’s resolve of positive change and all-round development of the nation, he said, the bridge not only connects Durbuk with Daulat Beg Oldie but also links the people of Ladakh and all interior areas of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. “Through initiatives like these, the people of this region will have the opportunity to become part of India’s growth story. ”
Hailing BRO as an ‘inspirational and disciplined force’, Singh lauded it for playing a leading role in the infrastructure development in far-flung areas in extremely tough and inhospitable terrain. He also appreciated BRO for playing a pivotal role in helping the people living in these areas.
He paid rich tribute to Col Chewang Rinchen, saying that his courage and valour is a source of inspiration to one and all. He also felicitated Dr Phunsog Angmo, daughter of Col Rinchen, for the contribution made by her father in the service of the nation.
Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, DG BRO Lt Gen Harpal Singh, Ladakh Member of Parliament Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and other senior officers of Army, BRO and Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion.