New Delhi: The Union Minister of State for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, said today that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is going to preserve India’s vast resources, both natural and human resources, adding that awareness needs to be generated about this aspect. Singh was delivering the keynote address on ‘Border States and National Security’ at an event organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi.
Speaking about the bordering states, Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed border areas on high priority and several initiatives have been taken for the bordering areas, adding that in the last five-six years there has been an entirely different approach on how to approach the border security.
Speaking about Jammu & Kashmir, this approach of Government has sent signals both ways; across the borders and to those living at the international borders, Singh said, adding that this has lifted the morales of people living in bordering areas.
Jitendra Singh said that the Government has taken cognizance of the difficulties faced by the people living in the border areas, and spoke about many initiatives taken by the Government for them, such as constructing bunkers, toilets, Seema Bhawans and provision of cattle insurance, among others. This has been possible because of extreme sensitivity of the Government towards these people, he added.
Speaking about the border states, the Minister said North East India has a huge bordering area along many countries. The abrogation of Article 370 is primarily associated with the Northern most bordering state of India, Singh obsderved, adding that we owe to pay tribute to the efforts of security forces deployed at the borders.
At the same time, he said, we need to understand the people living near the bordering areas and respect their courage as they are first ones to face the brunt of any disturbance, adding that their situation is not only security-related but also has a socio-cultural impact on them.
The Minister said security forces are perpetually in war mode of late. Earlier, security forces were trained to fight an enemy from across borders and not anti-national elements within the country, he remarked.
The Minister said that militancy and cross-border terrorism have become a serious challenge, adding that security dynamics have changed over the years, and consequently the obligations of security forces have also changed.
Jitendra Singh said the ‘Look East Policy’ has been changed to the ‘Act East Policy.’ He emphasised the socio-cultural proximity of NE states with the bordering countries, and said that these areas share common eating habits, common culture and other aspects. But at the same time, that does not obliviate the importance of security, he added.
The Minister said peace and development are reciprocal in a relation, and if there is no peace, development cannot happen, and conversely if there is no development, it creates a breeding ground for unrest.
The Minister said that the North East has undergone huge transformation in recent years, and various steps have been taken to boost rail, air and road connectivity. He noted that a train has been started from Itanagar to New Delhi i.e. Arunachal Express, and added that a train will soon be flagged off to Bangladesh from North East.
Singh also spoke about Sikkim Airport. and said that to boost startups in the North East, a venture fund has been started by the DoNER Ministry. The Minister also said that a citrus fruit park has been set up in Mizoram with Israeli collaboration, adding that these initiatives have been taken by the Government based on the understanding of the issues of bordering areas.
The DG, IDSA, Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy and representatives of bordering states and associated agencies also attended the event, among others.
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