Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday stressed on prioritising peace and called it the stepping stone for development.
Sitharaman, who was inaugurating the second edition of Buddha Mahotsava at Bomdila in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, said it was necessary to prioritise peace for development and the Centre would definitely respond to any need of the state and its borders. “We (the Centre) are with the people of Arunachal Pradesh,” Sitharaman, who was accompanied by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, said.
The people of the state are the “real sentinels” for guarding the frontiers and securing the borders of the country, she said and appreciated them for living harmoniously with nature. “I stand here first as a citizen of the nation and secondly as the defence minister,” she said.
The defence minister’s remarks come after President Xi Jinping told herdsmen from a Tibetan settlement bordering Arunachal Pradesh to “set down roots” to safeguard “Chinese territory” and focus on developing their hometown.
Rijiju called upon the people of the district to work for development and said he would be happy to help. Later in the day, Sitharaman flew to Itanagar where she would stay the night and hold meetings with Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Governor Brigadier B D Mishra (retd).
She is scheduled to visit Kibithu in remote Anjaw district bordering China on Sunday to meet the troops guarding the frontier, a defence spokesman said.