KIMIN (ARUNACHAL PRADESH): In a statement seen as an implicit message to Beijing, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that though India is a peace loving country, it has the capability of replying to aggression.
Dedicating 12 strategic roads constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to the nation in Kimin, Singh described India as a priest of world peace but added any serious disturbance to peace and tranquility in border areas would have adverse implications.
"We seek world peace (but) if someone shows us an aggressive attitude, we will respond," Singh said, adding the "new roads will help secure international borders."
Singh's statement comes in the backdrop of China continuing to hold on to positions in Hot Springs and Gogra Post on the border, after clashes between the armies of the two Asian giants in the bleak Galwan valley in Ladakh a year ago.
The defence minister said "last year in Galwan Valley, our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in line of duty. I salute all brave soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for the nation."
China also claims most of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory and has dubbed it `South Tibet in internal maps. The northern neighbour which fought a bloody border war with India in 1962 when it invaded parts of Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang, often sends border patrols into areas controlled by India.
Rajnath said, the 12 strategic roads, including 10 in Arunachal Pradesh and one each in Ladakh and J&K, would not only give a boost in connectivity but would facilitate faster movement of troops along the border.
The capability of BRO in constructing world class roads despite challenges, in tough and hilly terrain, (underlines) the mantra of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
The budget for BRO has increased manifold since 2013 and today stands at Rs 11,000 crore. The BRO since 2014 had developed a record 4,800 kms of border roads in the country.
"Our vision is to produce our own weapons and if necessary export them to other countries," Rajnath said.