New Delhi: Inaugurating 12 strategic roads in border areas, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today said India is a peace-loving nation but its response to aggression has been resolute, in an apparent reference to the Chinese military assault launched last year in the Eastern Ladakh sector of Line of Actual Control (LAC).
He also paid tributes to the soldiers who showed exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese soldiers on June 15 last year and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.
The physical clash had led to the loss of lives of 20 Indian soldiers and the unspecified number of Chinese soldiers, about which China has kept the information suppressed.
The roads dedicated to the nation by Singh today include 9 in Arunachal Pradesh and one each in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam.
The roads have been constructed under ‘Arunank’, ‘Vartak’, ‘Brahmank’, ‘Udayak’, ‘Himank’ and ‘Sampark’ projects of BRO, an official release said.
At the event organised in Lakhimpur district of Assam for the inauguration, Singh lauded the BRO for its contribution in infrastructure development of remote border areas of the country, especially amid the COVID-19 restrictions.
He said the roads inaugurated today hold strategic and socio-economic importance as they will play an important role in strengthening national security as well as promoting development of the North-East region.
“These roads will be helpful in fulfilling the needs of our Armed Forces and transporting necessities like medicines and ration to remote areas,” he said.
The Defence Minister said these road projects are part of the ‘Act East Policy’ of the Government wherein special emphasis is being laid on the overall development of the border areas.
On the occasion, he referred to the major reforms undertaken by the Government, including appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, measures to boost self-reliance in defence manufacturing and Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
“These reforms are proving to be a game changer in the military preparedness in the rapidly changing times,” Singh said.
He underlined the constant efforts of the Government to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing under the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We are actively working towards making India a defence manufacturing hub. Self-reliance in defence production will reduce our dependence on imports, increase exports and strengthen our economy,” he said.