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Updated January 20th, 2024 at 09:23 IST

Border Regions Integral to India, Not Mere Buffer Zones: Def Min Inaugrates Crucial Border Projects

Rajnath Singh inaugurated 35 projects, costing Rs 670 cr, reinforcing border infrastructure, connectivity, and socio-economic development across seven states.

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Indian Defence Minister Rajnath SinghIndian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | Image:X
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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 35 infrastructure projects built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at a cost of Rs 670 crore during an event at Joshimath-Malari Road in Uttarakhand on Friday. Following the inauguration, he also underlined that the nation's border areas are not mere buffer zones, as per the previous government's perception, but an integral part of India, according to initial reports.

These projects, comprising 29 bridges and six roads, span seven states and union territories, aiming to enhance connectivity, defence preparedness, along with socio-economic development in remote areas. He also commended the BRO for its role in strengthening border infrastructure, connecting remote regions geographically, and encouraging a sense of unity among citizens.

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Border Residents are Part of Mainstream Now: Singh 

Connectivity to border areas through roads, bridges, and tunnels is not only strategically important but also crucial for the welfare of residents, Singh added. 

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"There was a time when border infrastructure development was not given much importance. Governments used to work with the mentality that the people living in the plains are the mainstream people. They were worried that the developments on the border might be used by the adversary. Due to this narrow mentality, development never reached the border areas. This thinking has changed today. Under the leadership of PM Modi, our government is committed to the development of border areas, keeping in view the nation’s security needs. We do not consider these areas as buffer zones. They are a part of our mainstream,” the Defence Minister said.

Singh, during his address, also reiterated that the current government's approach reflects a new confidence in 'New India', focusing on developing infrastructure on mountains and deploying troops on hill borders to ensure the safety of residents and effectively deal with adversaries. Speaking about the people on India’s last frontiers, the Union Minister stated, “People living near the borders are no less than soldiers. If a soldier protects the country by wearing a uniform, the residents of border areas are serving the motherland in their own way,” he said.

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Migration from Uttarakhand Border a ‘Matter of Concern’

Addressing concerns about migration from border areas in Uttarakhand, Singh said it's a 'matter of concern' and underscored the government's commitment to covering the development journey from seas to borders. He also acknowledged the increasing impact of climate change on border states and UTs, emphasising the need for international cooperation on this critical national security issue.

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Singh also praised the Border Roads Organisation's contribution to the recent Silkyra Tunnel operation in Uttarakhand, commending the coordinated efforts of various agencies.

Highlighting the unique workforce of the BRO, including Armed Forces personnel, permanent civilian employees, and casual paid labourers (CPLs), Rajnath Singh noted the positive impact of changing perceptions. The government recognizes the hard work of all personnel and has taken steps to enhance their quality of life and overall well-being.

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Projects to Contribute to Nation’s Operational Readiness

Out of the 35 projects inaugurated, 29 bridges and six roads were spread across Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Mizoram, and Himachal Pradesh. These projects were executed under challenging weather conditions and inhospitable terrain.

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The event showcased the inauguration of the Dhak Bridge, a 93-metre long Class 70R bridge over Dhak Nallah, highlighting its strategic importance in providing increased connectivity to borders and enhancing the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces. It is expected to boost socio-economic development in the region, promoting tourism and generating employment opportunities.

The remaining 34 projects, e-inaugurated by Singh, include the Ragini-Ustad-Pharkian Gali Road in J&K, a 38.25-km long CL-9 road providing all-weather connectivity between Tangdhar and Keren sector, bolstering military operational readiness.

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Published January 20th, 2024 at 09:23 IST

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