Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that India wants an end to the border tension with China and aims to establish peace but reiterated that Indian soldiers will never allow even an inch of land to be taken by anyone.
After performing ‘Shastra Puja’ — customary worship of weapons — at the Sukna-based headquarters of the Indian Army’s 33 Corps, also known as Trishakti Corps, in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on the occasion of Dussehra, the Union minister said, “At the moment there is tension on the India-China border, but India wants that it should end, peace should be established. That is our aim. But sometimes there are some nefarious acts. But I am completely convinced and I also believe that our Army’s soldiers in any situation will not allow an inch of India’s land to go into anyone else’s hands.”
Rajnath, who is on a two-day visit to West Bengal and Sikkim, also reviewed the operational preparedness of the Trishakti Corps, which is responsible for the Line of Actual Control with China in the Sikkim sector.
Greeting the soldiers on the occasion of Dussehra, the minister said, “Whatever has happened lately on the India-China border in Ladakh, I can say with concrete information about the duty performed by our soldiers, that when history is written, historians will write the story of courage and valour of our soldiers in gold letters.”
Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane was also present at the occasion.
The minister also inaugurated a 19.85-km alternate alignment of the National Highway-310 in Sikkim through video conference. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said it was “necessitated due to the previous alignment having seen extensive damages due to sinking and other natural hazards”. “The road serves as an important link to bolster defence preparedness in the Nathula Sector in particular and in the whole of East Sikkim in general,” it stated.
The ceremony was held through a video conference from the 33 Corps headquarters “due to inclement weather”.
“By constructing… alternate route of NH-310, the BRO has fulfilled the aspirations of the Army and residents of East Sikkim,” Rajnath said.
“Most of the border roads of Sikkim are being upgraded by the BRO to double-lane. Out of this, 65 km of road construction work is in progress in East Sikkim, and 55 km of road construction is under the action plan. The construction of 225 km double-lane road to ‘Mangan-Chungthang-Yumesamdong’ and ‘Chuganthang-Lachen-Jima-Muguthang-Nakula’ is planned under the Bharatmala project in North Sikkim. These works are planned in nine packages with an estimated cost of Rs 5,710 crore,” the Defence Minister said.
He also “emphasised the government’s drive towards progressing infrastructure development in far-flung areas not only to enhance defence preparedness but also for fostering socio-economic development of the region” and reiterated the Centre’s “resolve to speed up infrastructure development in alignment with the Prime Minister’s Act North East policy”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines