Itanagar, Jan 3: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that India does not believe in war, but “if it is forced upon us, we will fight”.
“We are ensuring that the nation is protected from all threats. Our armed forces are ready and it is heartening to see that the BRO (Border Roads Organisation) is walking shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” the Defence Minister said after dedicating 28 infrastructure projects of BRO worth Rs 724 crore to the nation, at an event organised at the Siyom Bridge on Along-Yinkiong Road in Arunachal Pradesh.
Singh emphasised that the aim is to build a strong and self-reliant ‘New India’ to effectively deal with future challenges, which may arise due to the constantly-evolving geo-political scenario.
“The world is witnessing a number of conflicts today. India has always been against war. It is our policy,” Singh said, as he referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the SCO summit last November that “this is not the era of war”.
The Defence Minister also highlighted the crucial role played by the BRO in bolstering the country’s security through infrastructure development in the border areas.
“Recently, our forces effectively countered the adversary in the Northern sector and dealt with the situation with bravery and promptness. This was made possible due to adequate infrastructural development in the region. This motivates us even more for the progress of the far-flung areas,” he said.
The BRO projects comprise 22 bridges, including the Siyom bridge, three roads and three other projects in the seven border states and Union Territories of Northern and Northeastern regions.
Eight of these projects are in Ladakh; five in Arunachal Pradesh; four in Jammu and Kashmir; three each in Sikkim, Punjab and Uttarakhand and two in Rajasthan.
In addition, three telemedicine nodes - two in Ladakh and one in Mizoram - were inaugurated.
The Defence Minister described the projects as a testament to the concerted efforts of the government and the BRO towards the development of border areas in order to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces and ensure the socio-economic development of the far-flung regions.
He asserted that it is the government’s top priority, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to connect the border areas and ensure the development of the residents.
Terming infrastructure development as a game-changer for the people residing in the border areas, Singh lauded the BRO for ensuring socio-economic development in the far-flung regions. He stressed that the government is paying special attention to the development of the northeastern region, which has strengthened the country’s security system.
For the organisation’s relentless efforts to support the armed forces and the local people, Singh coined a new phrase, “BRO is the nation’s bro (brother)”.
Quoting the famous phrase ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’, he said the construction of road infrastructure in the border areas is a journey for the BRO and a strong and prosperous India should be its destination.
The event on Along-Yinkiong Road witnessed the physical inauguration of the strategically-important Siyom Bridge, while the other projects were dedicated to the nation virtually.
The Siyom Bridge is a state-of-the-art, 100-metre-long Class 70 steel arch superstructure bridge over Siyom River.
With the inauguration of these 28 projects, which were completed in 2022, a total of 103 infrastructure projects of BRO have been dedicated to the nation in the year at a total cost of Rs 2,897 crore.
In October last year, 75 projects, worth Rs 2,173 crore, were inaugurated by the Defence Minister from the Shyok village in Ladakh.
In 2021, 102 such projects of the BRO have been dedicated to the nation at a cost of Rs 2,229 crore.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, MP Easti Tapir Gao, GOC-in-C Eastern Command Lieutenant General R.P. Kalita and GOC Spear Corps Lieutenant General R.C. Tiwari were among those who attended the event.