Itanagar, Oct 24 (PTI): Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has said the times now are different from 1962 and the people of the state and the Indian Army will never fall back no matter how many times China tries to claim Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory.
Khandu was speaking at a programme on Friday at Bum La, a pass on the Indo-Tibet border in the northeastern state, to honour a soldier who died fighting in the 1962 India-China war.
“This is not 1962, but 2020, and things are different now. Right from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, we are fully prepared. If required, the people of Arunachal will not hesitate to stand behind the Indian Army,” he said.
China does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh as an Indian state but as a part of southern Tibet, a claim that has been rejected outright by India.
Speaking on the changes in the last six decades since 1962, the chief minister said infrastructure development along the border areas has received a major thrust under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The development of border areas, specially roads, is important. It is being done in full speed in Arunachal Pradesh and we will soon witness several such infrastructural revamps in the state,” he said.
Khandu was at Bum La to pay tribute to Subedar Joginder Singh on his 58th death anniversary. He recalled the supreme sacrifice of Singh, who laid down his life fighting the Chinese army in the 1962 Indo-China war.
Honour to have Smti Kulwant Kaur, daughter of Shaheed Subedar Joginder Singh, Param Veer Chakra, to inaugurate his memorial at Bum La, 15150 ft, on his 58th martyrdom day. He laid down his life fighting enemy soldiers on 23rd Oct, 1962 during the India-China war. pic.twitter.com/smSgZhzK4v— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) October 24, 2020
Singh, who was a subedar in the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment, was commanding a platoon at Bum La in the then North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh.
“Fighting against all odds, Subedar Singh attained martyrdom on this day during the 1962 India-China war. The people of Arunachal salute his bravery and will always remember the supreme sacrifice he made for the nation,” Khandu said.
Though heavily outnumbered, Singh had led his troops against a Chinese assault and defended his post until he was wounded and captured. He died of his injuries while in Chinese custody and is believed to have single-handedly killed several Chinese soldiers and created history in the annals of the Indian Army.
He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military gallantry award of the country, in 1962. Kulwant Kaur, Singh’s daughter, inaugurated a newly-built war memorial in her father’s name at the programme.
The memorial has been built by the Arunachal Pradesh government just below the famous IB Ridge to commemorate Singh’s heroic defence against the People’s Liberation Army of China.