- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent
The Union Defence Minister – Rajnath Singh reiterated that centre won’t hesitate to undertake decisive steps for safeguarding the unity & integrity of the nation; and reaffirms commitment towards welfare of war veterans.
He informed the same, while felicitating the veterans of 1971 Indo-Pak war during an event held today at the Srimanta Shankardeva Kalakhetra Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam.
Referring the servicemen as significant ‘assets of the nation’, Singh asserted that concerned event demonstrated respect not only for the Armed Forces, but also for the country’s democratic traditions.
He paid homage to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Jagjit Singh Arora, Lt Gen JFR Jacob, Major General Sujan Singh Uban and Air Chief Marshal IH Latif for leading India to a historic triumph in the 1971 war.
“Our forces in the 1971 war comprised soldiers from every religion. But that did not win us the war. It was the strong thread of Indianness that held our soldiers together which ensured our victory,” he said.
The Union Defence Minister further appealed the citizens to safeguard the unity & integrity of the country with the same nationalism and patriotism with which the soldiers protect the borders.
Singh added that there has never been any tension on the Indo-Bangladesh border as seen on the western front because Bangladesh has always been India’s friendly country.
He credited the coordination between the central and states governments of the North-east which has ensured peace & stability on the Indo-Bangladesh border and helped the region usher into a new era of development.
The Raksha Mantri also stated that the removal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from many areas of the North-East is the result of durable peace and stability in the region.
“Some people believe that the Indian Army does not want AFSPA to be removed. I want to say from this forum that the Army has a minimal role in internal security. The Army wants that the situation becomes completely normal in Jammu & Kashmir so that AFSPA can be removed from there as well,” he stated.
“We have taken a firm stand to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and have protected our citizens from the menace. We have shown that, if needed, we will eliminate terrorism emanating from across the border.” – he further added.
The Defence Minister has commended the Border Roads Organization (BRO) for strengthening the infrastructure along border regions, saying that all efforts being made to bolster the far-flung areas from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh.
He also shed light on some of the BRO projects including Atal Tunnel and under-construction Sela Tunnel which will provide all-weather connectivity to the far-flung areas and enhance the defence preparedness.
The state government today felicitated the 1971 Indo-Pak war veterans – an initiative to recognize their heroism and crucial role in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Its worthy to note that during the 9-months long Bangladesh-Liberation War, thousands of security personnel and citizens from the northeastern states aided the “Mukti-Yoddha” (Bangladesh’s Independence Fighters), and over 20,00,000 Bangladeshi refugees sought safety in Assam, Meghalaya & Tripura.